Some cats weren’t meant to be adopted.
It’s a hard truth some may not accept.
The best solution, according to The Hundred Cat Foundation, is to trap, spay or neuter and return feral cats.
“I think many people get into helping cats by feeding them by leaving out food, but they can’t handle or touch them,” HCF volunteer Leslie Jackson said. “In situations where people can’t handle the cat or can’t afford to take the cat somewhere for spay/neuter, that’s what we do. We provide a way to help them, so that the cats will stop reproducing and become healthy through vaccines.”
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Janet Schauffler understands. Cats sporadically popped up on her Warriors Mark farm 15 years ago, but more have turned up in the past two to three years. She takes guidance from the foundation to keep the population under control.
“I don’t know how they come to us or if people just drop them off near us, but every spring cats appear,” she said. “We asked at our vet what we should do, and they said to contact The Hundred Cat Foundation for a trap.”
The foundation’s volunteers taught Schauffler how to use one of its traps and tricks to lure cats into the trap.
“It’s tricky to trap them, and we have one here that we’ve never caught,” Schauffler said. “We’ll keep trying.”
The goal is to stop cats from reproducing.
Donna and Jim Herrmann started the foundation in 2005, Jackson said. Volunteers have spayed or neutered 4,390 cats as of June 30.
It started with a large scale rescue of 121 cats living in a home.
“The situations we run into really run the gamut,” Jackson said. “We help cats in situations where people might be feeding one cat in the backyard to 70 cats on a dairy farm. We help caregivers in Centre and Huntingdon counties. The rural farming communities have a lot of cats, and out there it’s easy for the cat population to get out of control. Many don’t know we’re here.”
The foundation, which has a few core members, loans out traps for free and provides instructions.
“We can’t catch them all ourselves, but we can help,” Jackson said. “There are a few things people should do, like withholding food for 24 hours so the cat is hungry. Use something like canned tuna cat food, something that will be a treat to attract a cat. And you usually want to set the trap near a bush or building where the cat will feel secure.”
There are some cats that can be socialized and adopted out.
“There is a window of time,” Jackson said. “Once a cat is older than 12 weeks it’s tough to socialize them. The cats we help are generally not adoptable, because they’re too shy, can’t pick them up, don’t like to be handled.”
Jackson said the only way the nonprofit can be operational is through fundraising.
They ask for $20 per cat to cover surgery, vaccinations and ear tipping, though she estimated the cost per cat to be about $70. They provide winter shelter for outdoor cats and guidance on nutrition and the need for fresh water year-round. They also provide about 300 to 400 pounds of food per month, which is either donated or bought with donated funds.