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Cornelius News

Friends of the Animals, LKN Lucky Cat partner up


Jan. 6 Two local non-profit organizations, Friends of the Animals and the Lake Norman Lucky Cat Program have teamed up to bring low-cost spay/neuter services to the cats of Iredell County.  Although the organizations will target the “community” cat population consisting of feral and stray cats, owned cats are welcome and encouraged to take advantage of these low-cost services as well.  Services to include spay/neuter, vaccinations, and tummy tattoo.  Additionally, feral cats will receive an “eartip.”

Although community cats have existed alongside people for 10,000 years, most are not socialized to people and are therefore unadoptable.  They don’t belong indoors and are typically wary of people.  However, as members of the domestic cat species just like pet cats, they are protected under state anti-cruelty laws.

Outdoor cats’ needs are not met by animal control agencies or shelters.  Community cats live full, healthy lives outdoors  – but are usually killed in shelters.  Even no-kill shelters cannot place un-socialized cats in homes.  In 2013, the latest year for which statistics are available and despite best efforts, 2,341 cats were killed at Iredell County Animal Services because they were homeless.  Many of them were stray cats, picked up and never claimed by an owner.  Many were feral cats that have an innate fear of humans and had a home…outdoors.

Catching and killing outdoor cats has been found to be an endless and cruel process that does not work to humanely manage our community cat population.  LNLCP Executive Director Robin Byrd says “Humane management options at no expense to tax-payers do exist for a long-term solution to managing our community cat population.  It is up to our community to responsibly implement those options setting positive, compassionate examples for future generations.”

The trap-neuter-return approach benefits the cats and the community.  Cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat) and then returned to their outdoor home.  The colony’s population stabilizes – no more kittens!  Trap, Neuter, Return improves their lives and improves their relations with the community.  The behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop.

Friends of the Animals Executive Director Patrice Reynolds says the partnership will reach into rural areas of Iredell County to loan traps, provide trapping instruction and transport cats to the Humane Society of Charlotte for low-cost spay/neuter services returning them the same day.  “Our shelters are filled with cats and dogs whose guardians cannot afford to spay or neuter them or their offspring.  So we are delighted to help bring affordable spay/neuter services to “owned” cats too.”

Iredell Spay Day will be the third Monday of each month starting February 16, 2015.  Pre-registration is required by calling 704-877-7779 and pricing will vary according to need.  Spay/Neuter transport will meet participants at a central location and return there at the end of the day.  Volunteers are also needed in Iredell County to help with the new program by assisting the elderly or disabled in trapping cats and/or transporting them to the drop-off location.  

The Lake Norman Lucky Cat Program, (luckycats.org) 501 (c) 3, founded by Abigail Jennings, began in 1998, by helping concerned citizens humanely and effectively reduce feral cat populations in our area through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).  Since unaltered owned and stray cats also contribute to the overpopulation in our shelters, in 2004 services expanded to include facilitating low-cost spay/neuter services for strays and pets as well.  LNLCP is not an adoption or relocation organization.

Friends of the Animals (FriendsoftheAnimals.net) is a local, 501c (3) non-profit organization that began in Iredell County in 2005 by advocating for the humane treatment of animals, especially at the Iredell County Animal Control Shelter.  In mid-2011, the group began a capital campaign to raise money to build a state-of-the-art pet education and adoption center that will serve Iredell County and the greater Lake Norman region.  Adoption, humane education and low-cost spay/neuter services for those on fixed and low-incomes will be the cornerstones of new center.