Local animal activists will be meeting with Tracy city officials and elected leaders during the next few months to seek funding to slow the cycle of cat overpopulation.
“It is estimated that over 900 feral cats have been identified in and around Tracy,” Ron Silva, president of Animal Rescue of Tracy, said, speaking for the local feral cat caretakers group. “Overall numbers could be higher, even into the thousands. TNR has proved to be an effective means of controlling feral cat population. The biggest problem is we don’t have the funds to pay for the program. With each new litter, the problem will continue to grow.”
Kim Gray, feral cat coordinator for Animal Rescue of Tracy, said the problem is already critical.
“This is too big for just a couple people in town to handle,” Gray said. “When the economy changed several years back and people started losing their homes, more and more cats were abandoned. They left them to roam, and that has led to the critical increase in the cat population. This is why we need to get the community and the city to help at this point.”
In Mountain House, a TNR voucher system is already in place. Mountain House Feral Cat Rescue worked with the Mountain House Community Services District to create a voucher that lists the veterinarian’s name and contact information, the procedure performed and any shots given to the cat. On the reverse side is an encroachment permit to be signed by the person who trapped the cat on MHCSD property. The voucher is sent directly to MHCSD, along with an invoice that allows the veterinarian to be reimbursed. The community has established a yearly spending cap.
“It costs us about $30 to fix a male cat and $60 to fix a female,” Gray said. “That does not include any shots that are needed.”
Some people have suggested trapping and euthanizing feral cats. Really? Please keep in mind that many of these feral-labeled cats were once someone’s pets and are now victims of a down economy. Calling animal control to pick up a litter of newborn kittens in your neighborhood or near your business could prove fatal, as the animal shelter has too small a staff to bottle-feed kittens or provide the needed round-the-clock care.
Maybe Tracy could benefit from some type of voucher system to get the problem under control. Meanwhile, if you would like to help, you can sponsor a cat with a tax-deductible donation to Animal Rescue of Tracy. Visit their website at www.animalrescuetracy.org or call 642-4324.
Fun trivia: An estimated 200 feral cats help keep Disneyland rodent-free — don’t tell Mickey. According to several sources, including the Alley Cat Allies website, the cats are allowed to roam the famous theme park at night. The park even has its own TNR program.
• Anne Marie Fuller is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.