By Lori Bailey
COUNCILWOMAN Lori Bailey, in attire presented to her by City Clerk Amy Kirkland last spring, listing Bailey as “The Kitty Clipping Queen” for her efforts to control the city’s cat population. (Independent File Photo/BILL CONSTINE)
Community Cats of Owosso was formed in response to the stray/feral cat problem – estimated to be over 22,000 countywide. The organization’s mission is to limit cat overpopulation by offering feline spay/neutering at affordable prices. The organization was created by Lori Bailey and Betsy Goodin who, with the support of volunteers and the Owosso City Council, held its first large Community Cats’ event in October 2014. Since that time, over 700 cats have been spay/neutered! The organization also helps place kittens and cats in new homes through Pet Supplies Plus and Capital Area Humane Society.
*What We Accomplished* Although the organization is not operating December-February due to the cold weather that endangers post-surgical recovery, Community Cats has held 10 monthly large-scale spay/neuter events. Events will resume the last Wednesday in March. The cost for surgery, including vaccinations, ranged from $25 to $40 per cat, and kittens were fixed for $10 each. Even deeper discounts for multiple cats were available. Most cats were ear-tipped for future identification as having been spay/neutered. All cats were given a general health assessment. For many of these cats, this is the only time they will see a vet, but for others, now that an investment is made in their wellbeing, families often keep up on vaccinations and get health services when needed.
*Why We Matter* TNVR/Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return is the only proven effective approach to reduce the numbers of stray, feral, and farm cats. Studies show the practice improves the lives of the cats – and makes them better “neighbors” – greatly reducing fighting, mating, spraying and other nuisance activities. Rabies vaccinations support the health of our citizens and contributes to the health of the colonies, as well. TNVR also significantly reduces the number of cats in a short time. Life expectancy for outdoor cats is short, estimated to be three years, but if allowed to mate, mathematically two cats can produce generations of cats who then have babies, etc., until there can be over 400,000 in seven years! TNVR stops the breeding cycle and improves lives while preventing reproduction.
*To Make a Donation* Donations are needed to support the work of Community Cats. The fees charged for spay/neuter services don’t begin to cover the costs of transportation, supplementary veterinary services, supplies and other costs. You can make a financial contribution to Community Cats by visiting the City of Owosso website at http://ci.owosso.mi.us/Donate-to-Community-Causes or by mailing checks (made payable to City of Owosso with Community Cats written on the subject line) to Community Cats of Owosso, P.O. Box 8, Owosso, MI 48867.
*To Contact Us, or Volunteer* If you feel more able to donate your time, or if you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also keep up with what is going on with us throughout the year by joining the Community Cats of Owosso Facebook family. Inexpensive area resources for spay/neutering are listed on the page. We will be back in March to continue serving the community.