A renewed effort to control feral cat populations across Tampa is underway after a recent trap and release effort by rescue groups failed.
Advocates within the Southeast Seminole Heights Neighborhood watch said the recent effort to spay and neuter large colonies of feral cats didn't do very well because someone apparently continued to feed the cats in the main target population, even though everyone was asked not to do so.
Theresa Daniels, a Seminole Heights resident, cares for a colony of about six feral cats. She loves having them around.
"They deserve to be happy and playful and be able to enjoy life too," Daniels said.
But while her colony has been spayed and neutered, many feral cat colonies nearby are not. She said there is a feral cat colony now living at her daughter's school, at a nearby grocery store and in an alleyway off of Nebraska Avenue.
"It's colonies of them," she said. "No less than four and five at a time."
Now, The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is working to educate the community about trap and release programs. They say the effort is important now more than ever because this is kitten season.
'If we don't spay and neuter, one cat can have six or seven babies," said Darlene Esposito, Community Outreach Manager.
Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return program, or TNVR, is the internationally proven practice of humanely trapping, spaying/neutering, vaccinating, then returning (to their colonies) feral or free roaming community cats, the Humane Society said.
Successful TNVR involves a volunteer colony caretaker who provides food and adequate shelter, and monitors the cats’ health.
TNVR has been shown to be the least costly, most efficient and most humane way to stabilize cat populations, according to The Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
Now, thanks to several new grants, hundreds of feral cats are able to be trapped, spayed or neutered and returned to their neighborhoods by The Humane Society of Tampa free of charge. However, individuals need to request the traps from shelter workers.
STEP 1: GET A TRAP
- Humane traps can be rented at the animal hospital between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., 7 days a week. ($5 fee and $90 deposit apply)
STEP 2: SPAYING, NEUTERING AND RETURNING FERAL CATS: Humane Society of Tampa Bay
- On Mondays, The Humane Society of Tampa Bay fixes more than a hundred cats. For the other days of the week, they can take 10 ferals, but you need to call to make sure they have space that day.
- Cats can be dropped off on Mondays from 6:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. (no appointment necessary)
- Pick up times are assigned at drop-off (no later than 5:45 p.m.)
- Cats must be in traps (no crates, carriers, boxes, etc)
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