Sirena Mick (at right) of Heartland Veterinary Clinic prepares a feral cat for sedation as part of the clinic’s TNR (trap-neuter-release) program for feral cats in the area. (Photo by Brian Sanders)

Local TNR program aims to help feral cat population

Eight live cat traps, each one containing at least one cat, were brought Monday morning to Heart­land Veterinary Clinic so that each of the cats inside could be spayed or neutered, given some necessary vaccines and then taken back to the “colonies” where they were found.

Clinic co-owner Dr. Amy Sun­day, with help from clinic person­nel and Betty Flemming and Joan­nie Dannenberg of the Heart of Jackson Humane Society, lined up the cat traps, covering them with towels to calm the cats inside, and prepared them for sedation.

“We’ve been trying to get up to 12 cats per month each time,” said Sunday, who noted that the cats in the traps were feral — unsocialized cats that live in colonies and have learned to live independently of humans — and that the steriliza­tions to be performed are part of a new trap-neuter-release, or TNR, program designed to control the feral cat population in the area.

Sunday echoed the research of animal experts who state that TNR programs are beneficial for feral cats and help them to live bet­ter lives while controlling their popu­lations, noting that so far, more than 60 feral cats have bene­fited from the local program.

“Every cat gets spayed or neutered, and then we do a general health exam once they’re sedated, to see if they have any issues we can treat,” Sunday said. “They get vaccines for rabies and feline leukemia, and they get a topical product that takes care of fleas, ticks, ear mites and worms. So they get a short period of not having to worry about fleas and ticks while we’re working to improve their overall health as much as we can.”

Flemming said the Heart of Jackson Humane Society said she was “getting so many calls about stray cats in Holton and Mayetta,” and that prompted her to see what could be done. Sunday was also getting calls about stray and feral cats from people who wanted to help them but didn’t want to put a lot of money into surgeries and vaccines.

“We didn’t have a cat resource in Jackson County at that time,” Sunday said. “So I reached out to Betty and said, is there any way we could work on building a TNR program? I was willing to work on a lot of the surgeries, and we were hopeful that we could get other lo­cal vet clinics involved.”

For more on this and other stories, please log in to your account and select “May 8, 2024” under “E-Editions.”

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141


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