Natalie Hefner, a coordinator for Humane Ohio, handles a trapped cat in Toledo.
The City of Sylvania has enlisted Humane Ohio to round up a group of stray cats for spaying and neutering in hopes of controlling a growing feline population in a neighborhood.
Humane Ohio Director Aimee St. Arnaud said the non-profit organization, which has a spaying and neutering clinic, is going to try to humanely reduce the number of cats in the the area of Vicksburg Drive, Woodland Lane, and surrounding streets within the next three weeks.
At a recent City Council meeting, members approved spending up to $1,500 for the effort.
In September, residents from the neighborhood complained about a growing feral cat population that they personally tried to combat. However, Janice Pierson, who represented the neighbors, said that one neighbor kept feeding the cats and thus the efforts to decrease the wild cat population proved unsuccessful. The current population is estimated between 15 to 25 cats.
Ms. St. Arnaud said that Human Ohio will set traps to capture the cats, bring them back to its facilities in Toledo for spaying, neutering, and a rabies vaccination. The cats will then be released back to the neighborhood.
“We should be able to cut down on the roaming, spraying, and make sure the cats are living in harmony with the neighbors,” she said.
Ms. St. Arnaud explained that, if the cats are not returned to the area, it could result in other strays moving in. When cats come into an area they are drawn to something, whether it be food or shelter. If you remove them, that attractive source will still be there and possible draw other strays, she said.
She said that each spayed and neutered cat will be tagged so that neighbors can easily identify if other strays are coming into the area and the neighbors will know which animals need to “get fixed.” The organization will offer tips to residents who dislike cats in their yards.
The cost for each surgery is $25 and rabies vaccination is $6.
Councilmen have referred to the cat roundup effort as a pilot program.
“It’s obvious we have a problem that needs to be addressed. We want to help to try to get this problem under control however, long term, I’m not sure we can continue to add this line item to our budget,” Councilman Todd Milner said. If the problem continues, he said, the city may have to consider having residents partially fund the effort.