TOWANDA — Kali’s Mission began setting up 10 cat traps in the first ward of Towanda on Wednesday.
Second Street, Third Street and Fourth Street each received notices on Sunday of the traps being put in place, according to Gary Parks from Kali’s Mission.
“On Sunday we put notices out to let people know that if they have cats that roam wild, bring them in tonight so we don’t catch ‘Fluffy,’ a pet cat,” said Parks.
The cats will be enticed into traps with food and then will be brought to either the Towanda Creek Animal Hospital or the Animal Care Sanctuary to be spayed or neutered.
“They will be knocked out and have their ear clipped, so that when we did this again, we will know if we catch one to not take it back down since it has already been done,” said Parks. “They will also be given a rabies shot and kept overnight before being brought back on Friday to be released back into their colonies where they came from. They will have pain medication on board so it will be very humane and cats won’t suffer.”
The feral cat catching process was approved by the Towanda Borough Council during their last council meeting and $2,000 was given to start the program. Parks stated that the problem with the feral cats began with people abandoning their pets after moving away.
“People move into the area and they move on, but they leave their cats behind just like they do with their dogs. The dogs will be caught by the humane society and dog catchers, but the cats — they abandon them and of course cats have five or six kittens.”
Those who live in Towanda Borough should not expect an immediate decline in the feral cat problem due to the nature of the process.
“It is not going to decrease the cat population because we are not killing them, but they won’t be able to reproduce,” Parks said. “In eight to 10 years, you will see a reduction in the feral cats because the feral cat doesn’t live as long as a domesticated cat. It is not going to be a quick fix, by September you’re not going to see the feral cat problem gone in the borough, but over three years or five years you will see it reduced.”
Towanda residents can each do their part in limiting the feral cat population by making sure to spay or neuter their pet cats.
“If people would keep their cats and get them spayed and neutered so that they are reproducing and then they just leave them loose, it wouldn’t be such a strain on the borough and such a strain on the humane societies,” said Parks. “There are only so many people out there that can adopt. If people would take it amongst themselves to spay and neuter their own animals, this wouldn’t be a problem. We live in a throw away world and people look at pets as disposable.”
The process to have a cat spayed and neutered can be expensive, so the Towanda Creek Animal Hospital and the Animal Care Sanctuary are giving Kali’s Mission a discount to help stretch the funds, according to Parks.
Gary Parks was excited about the great reception the community has had toward the Kali’s Mission program, but noted that the capturing process is not as easy as some might think.
“The response has been great, the volunteers have been great. Hopefully we set out 10 traps and catch 10 cats, but it’s not as easy as people think. The traps are strange to them. They are used to living under bushes or under the porch, so this is all strange to them. We put a good, stinky food in there to try to attract them, so it’s a gamble. Hopefully we catch 10, but if we get one or two we will be lucky.”