Trap, Neuter, Release Program Proposed For Nebraska City's Stray Cat Population
NEBRASKA CITY – A group of concerned citizens are hoping to form a trap, neuter and release program in Nebraska City in response to the stray cat population.
Melissa Money-Beecher of the Lincoln-based non-profit, Joining Forces Saving Lives, met with city commissioners Monday.
Money-Beecher: “I’m just trying to reduce the outdoor cat population and prevent cats from getting in the Humane Society, when we already have too many.”
She was joined by Elaine Boyer, who gets a first-hand look at the feral cat population while working as a local meter reader.
Boyer: “I was concerned. I wanted to learn about how to save the cats, humanely, so I got a hold of Mitsi.”
Money-Beecher said it might surprise people to learn that the proven way to reduce cat populations is to spay-neuter and release.
Money-Beecher: “We get the population under control and it’s the only effective way that works. They’ve done trap and kill for years and years and years and the same outcome is the cats repopulate.”
She said the released cats do not have kittens and they keep other cats from moving into an area.
Money-Beecher: “Basically, TNR is trapping unowned, semi-owned, maybe-friendly outdoor cats, spaying and neutering them, and returning them where they are at.”
City Clerk Randy Dunster says the city does not currently work with any existing, tax-exempt rescue organizations for cats, but said awareness is growing.
Dunster: “It is an issue that we are facing more and more frequently. We have individuals who have borrowed traps from our street department to trap those stray cats and then they turn them over to the city to impound them, and then we pay for boarding the cats and we try to find a new place for them, so it is a growing problem.”
Some estimate 300 or more stray cats in Nebraska City and Street Commissioner Vic Johns said he welcomes citizen action.
Johns: “If you guys will organize, I guarantee I will meet with you and we’ll come back to the council with something … concrete.”
Dunster agreed that a citizen-based organization would have the best chance of success to form a TNR program.
Dunster: “We could reduce the amount of impounds that we have. We can reduce the number of complaints we have from citizens with feral cat populations in their neighborhood.”
Tina Lant said she has already had stray cats spayed, but a citywide effort is necessary.
Tina Lant: “I could not believe the stray cat population in such a small town compared to a big city like Seattle.”
Money-Beecher recommends training for trappers.
Money-Beecher: “I would wear gloves because it’s dicey. Cat bites will get infected almost all the time, so I always use caution. I just wear gloves even while I’m carrying around the trap in case they try to scratch.”
People interested in volunteering for a program can contact Elaine Boyer on Facebook or email her at Eboyer402@gmail.com