Wednesday, September 20, 2006

TCU helps cats in Fort Worth Texas

Cats gain nine more lives
TCU Daily Skiff, TX - September 20, 2006 (Texas Christian University)
Laura Flores
Issue date: 9/20/06 Section: News

Since 2004, faculty members have volunteered to trap, neuter and release feral cats living on and around campus, as part of Frogs and Cats Together, a project aimed at controlling the feral cat population.

Cari Alexander, TCU librarian and founder of Frogs and Cats Together, began the organization after 34 cats were captured in Worth Hills, taken to animal control and euthanized during summer 2004.

People "don't understand, you can't take them somewhere else - there is nowhere else to take them," Alexander said. "They go to animal control and die."

Alexander said she counted 30 cats when the program began.

Cats have survival instincts and are territorial, Alexander said, and university campuses are great sources for food, water and shelter.

Carol Thompson, a member of Frogs and Cats Together, said a trap-neuter-release method is the most effective way to reduce the number of wild cats because it stops reproduction, limiting the amount of cats in the area.

She said cats stop mating behaviors such as fighting and spraying once they are neutered, and the trap-neuter-release program is cheaper than euthanizing cats.

TCU is working with the Fort Worth's Animal Care and Control Division to protect semi-wild cats in Fort Worth's pet ordinance, said Anne Thomason, senior administrator at Fort Worth Animal Care and Control.

The current ordinance only affects pet cats and controls the number allowed to roam on the property owners, Thomason said. She said a pet rule does not work for feral cats because they have no owners and do not live on specific properties. However, many are still being cared for voluntarily.

Alexander said TCU has tried to capture and euthanize feral cats, but others take the place of these euthanized cats. With T-N-R, the population will naturally decrease as cats die, she said.

"TCU is a pilot project and good example of stabilizing an area," Thomason said.

Although Frogs and Cats Together is not an official group, Alexander said the administration gave consent for T-N-R on campus.

If the ordinance is changed, they will be able to set up clean feeding stations, Thompson said.

Currently, there are feeding spots on campus and food and water is taken up daily, Thompson said. She also said the administration allows the group to trap the cats on campus, but only during the day so there isn't prowling at night.

Each cat that is trapped has an ear clipped, is neutered and given vaccinations paid for through fundraisers and members of Frogs and Cats Together, Thompson said.