As the population of these cats continues to grow, a few local groups are coming together on April 21 to hold a workshop which will teach attendees how to trap and neuter community cats.
“Feral cats generally have a miserable existence,” said Julia Winston, vice president of the Wise County Humane Society. “But TNR (trap-neuter-return) is a beautiful way to maintain a population and make sure the animals live a good life.”
Winston said this is the first time this workshop has ever been offered. Thanks to the efforts of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue and the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies, Alice Burton and Bri Lovell of Alley Cat Allies, a national organization, will be speaking at the event.
TNR is a method used to control the population of free-roaming cats that have no owners. Winston said the workshop will go over the appropriate ways to catch these cats, evaluate them and get them medical care, including neutering and deworming.
If the cat can be tamed, Winston said an effort is made to find the cat a loving home. If it is completely feral, the cat will be returned to the same place it was found, and shelters will be set up in the area for the cat to use.
The free workshop will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Washington County Public Library in Abingdon. Food will be provided, and participants should RSVP at least two to three days before the event by emailing [email protected]
Three organizations — the Wise County Humane Society, the Animal Defense League of Washington County and Holly Help Spay-Neuter Fund — will serve as co-sponsors of the workshop. The event is open to animal control officers, shelter leaders and anyone who cares about cats in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
Those who cannot make it to the first workshop can attend another one on April 22 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Eastern Star Building in St. Paul, Virginia. Guests should RSVP to this workshop by emailing [email protected]
Winston said she hopes the workshop will be a step toward solving the cat overpopulation problem in this region.
“It’s to raise awareness of problems of community cats in our region,” Winston said, “and to provide a concrete method of alleviating their suffering.”