PEI

17 years of helping feral cats, and now they're looking for volunteers

A group that works to keep P.E.I.'s feral cat population under control is looking for help.

The Cat Action Team has treated thousands of feral cats

The Cat Action Team uses cages to trap feral cats. (Submitted by Gayle Adams)

A group that works to keep P.E.I.'s feral cat population under control is looking for help.

The Cat Action Team, or CAT, launched on P.E.I. in 2001, was one of the first groups of its kind. It developed a plan to trap feral cats, neuter them, and then release them back where they were found. The practice is known as TNR.

Dr. Marti Hopson, a veterinarian at the Atlantic Veterinary Hospital and a volunteer with CAT for many years, said TNR can make feral cat populations healthier and less destructive.

"People don't necessarily have the funds to take those stray cats in and have them neutered," said Hopson.

"Those are the cats that are out procreating, making litters multiple times a year, and can really cause problems in the environment."

Good for domestic cats too

Veterinarians and veterinary students volunteer their time for the program. Lay volunteers can help with fundraising, publicity, and with the capture and release of the cats. The group lures the cats into cages with canned cat food or tuna. Once in the cage, the door closes behind them.

The cats are not only neutered. They are also tested for disease, vaccinated, and treated for parasites. The healthier feral cats are also less of a threat to domestic cats.

More than 12,500 cats TNRed since 2001.

CAT has scheduled two meetings for people looking for more information about volunteering. The first is Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. at St. Eleanors Community Centre, and the second Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. at the P.E.I. Humane Society in Charlottetown. You can also find the Cat Action Team on Facebook.

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With files from Island Morning

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