Fayette County News

Fayette County

News

Fayette Humane Society looking for big hearts to help out with cat population in need

IMG_0280a
The Fayette Humane Society is helping control the stray cat population, but is in need of more homes for cats once they have been spayed or neutered. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)

The big hearts of the Fayette Humane Society are looking for more friends to join the cause and help out some cats in need.
Most people don’t realize how many stray cats there are or the good work that FHS does to help curb the population growth. When the average female cat could have more than 100 kittens in her life, there is simply no room or resources to care for so many. With the help of the Trap-Neuter-Return initiative, the FHS is helping to humanely control the cat population. The Fayette County Animal Shelter is left with the tough task of housing as many animals as possible in the space they have, and their space is extremely limited. FHS has helped tremendously, contributing to an overall animal intake drop of 23 percent and an euthanasia rate drop of 42 percent just over the last year.
As big an impact as they’ve made, FHS can’t afford to rest. They know they cannot solve the problem, but they’re trying to stem the tide of growing cat colonies.
“There are always going to be more. You’re not going to cure an age-old problem, but how many more there would have been had we not been doing it is what we look at,” says Linda White, a volunteer heavily involved with the TNR program. “There would’ve been enormous numbers of litters born.”
When humane society volunteers are alerted to a colony of stray or feral cats, many times through a referral from the Fayette County Animal Shelter, they trap the cats and get them spayed or neutered. The cats also get the tiniest tip of their left ear clipped so that, if they get trapped again, it will be obvious that they can be released because they have already been fixed.
What happens next is FHS needs more places to relocate the cats that are not adoptable, ones that the animal shelter cannot take. In many cases, people have tried to care of the cats, but simply don’t have the means to do it anymore.
“The people that have the most compassion and are the most likely to feed a stray cat are the ones that can least afford to do it,” says White, who gets the same response when she asks why they do it. “It’s because, at some time in their life, they’ve known what it’s like to be hungry, but a lot of us who haven’t had to go hungry don’t show that compassion.”
It is really easy for a family open their hearts and take on a couple of these social outdoor cats. Make sure they have some safe shelter and food, and they will repay you many ways over. It is their instinct to kill many rodents that might plague a house after all. They would be especially perfect for a family with a farm.
“They are working cats,” says Susan Griffith, another FHS volunteer. “They say you make your money back in grain just from the mice not stealing it anymore.”
The lack of attention to the stray cat problem can be frustrating, but it is fixable, especially if dog lovers can be reached, as there are often more volunteers to help with dogs than cats.
“I lived in South America briefly, in Guyana, and there were stray dogs there like there are stray cats here,” says Griffith. “I think if dog lovers saw that, they would be just devastated. I feel like that’s how we feel about the cats when we see them like that.”
Even outside of housing cats, there are plenty of ways to help the animals of the humane society. One way to get involved could be volunteering to learn how to become a trapper and help bring the cats in to get fixed. Another option could be donating material for or building enclosures for cats, perhaps a great project for a Boy Scout troup. They could always use for food for feral cats and more traps. The Fayette Humane Society has wishlists on Amazon for those who would like to purchase something for them.
Of course, the dream come true would be for the Fayette Humane Society to someday have their own building to call home and house the animals. Many organizations have their own facility, but in Fayette all of the animals are either housed by volunteers or at kennels.
All of the work the Fayette Humane Society does is simply out of their love for animals because the entire organization is all volunteer-based. There can never be enough help. For more information on Fayette Humane Society, or to find out how to get involved, visit www.fayettehumane.org or follow them on Facebook.

By Christopher Dunn

Managing Editor Christopher Dunn has been with the Fayette County News since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Victory magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.