by Jessie Dyer of AthensPets and Kelly Bettinger of Campus Cats
Do you feed or care for outdoor community cats? We have good news!
Thanks to a program of the Athens-Clark County Animal Control and Campus Cats, you can sign up to receive free veterinary services for community cats. For the purpose of this program, community cats are defined as the stray (often friendly) and feral (fearful of people) domestic cats that live outdoors in our neighborhoods, often coming together in groups called colonies.
This program ensures that each cat receives a rabies vaccination, ear tip for identification and spay/neuter (sterilization) surgery. Sterilization is a relatively low-risk surgery and is an important part of being a responsible caregiver—fixed cats are healthier; have reduced nuisance behaviors such as fighting or spraying; and of course, they can no longer breed, which keeps their numbers in check.
Community cats will be humanely trapped and transported to participating veterinary clinics in Athens-Clarke County or to low-cost spay/neuter clinics in the area where they will be evaluated and receive the program services. After the cats have recovered from surgery, they are returned to their familiar habitat: your backyard! Traps are available to borrow through Campus Cats. Campus Cats will instruct you on how to trap and transport cats so that you can successfully trap, neuter and return (TNR) the cats in your care.
With kitten season already upon us this spring, it’s an excellent time of year to participate in this program to prevent more unwanted kittens from being born. It’s also a significant contribution to alleviating space constraints at local shelters.
Athens-Clarke County Animal Control will fund specific veterinary services if your colony is registered and meets specific requirements. The cats must live in Athens-Clarke County, and you must own the property or obtain permission in writing from the property owner (or owner’s agent) to register the colony. All voucher applications must include a letter of support from an animal rescue group.Please contact Campus Cats for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.catzip.org.
Remember—feeding and fixing, they go together!
To register your community cat colony visit athensclarkecounty.com/DocumentCenter/View/163.