What a joy it is to report on this fantastic program! Community cats (previously called stray or unowned cats) have been euthanized by the hundreds in our community and in others across the country for years just because they didn’t have a “traditional”, inside home. In almost all cases, they had homes — an outside home . . . and shelter and food and water.
But killing these cats was not seen as an acceptable answer to the problem of stray cats, so trap-neuter-return (TNR) was developed. Trapping cats, neutering them, and returning them to their caretakers (those people feeding them) became the norm in all progressive communities across the country. Not only were cats’ lives being saved but fewer were being born. As a result, fewer were ending up in our shelters and taxpayer money was saved. Truly a win-win! But what about those community cats who did end up at the shelter in spite of all our TNR efforts? What could we do to save them as well?
In Louisville, Operation City Kitty is the answer. Thanks to the newly revised ordinance, Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) and Alley Cat Advocates now work together to neuter and vaccinate community cats who have been turned in to the shelter. The cats are then returned to their outside homes. Often we know who the caretaker is and we assist them build shelters, get cat food at the local food bank, and help resolve neighborhood concerns when they exist. And sometimes we don’t know who the caretaker is, knowing only that the healthy, lifeloving cats want to keep on living and our shelter staff (and our community’s citizens — the taxpayers) no longer need to kill these beautiful animals. Instead, through Operation City Kitty, the cats return home — spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Lives are saved, taxpayer money is saved, and we’re a better, more humane community as a result.