34,720 Fewer Free Roaming Cats on Cleveland-area Streets!

Jason Cook

Cleveland Animal Protective League (APL) Celebrates Milestone 10,000th Cat NeuterOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

CLEVELAND, OH (November 11, 2009) –More than 30,000 kittens and cats won’t be living homeless on the streets or entering Cleveland area shelters this winter thanks to the Cleveland APL’s homeless cat spay-neuter program, which reaches a landmark 10,000th surgery this week.

It’s estimated that there are some 250,000 feral (“wild”) and homeless cats living in alleys, behind businesses, and in neighborhood yards in Cuyahoga County, with 75,000 in the City of Cleveland alone. The Cleveland APL offers a low-cost TNR (trap-neuter-return) program year-round, which is aimed at humanely curbing the number of new litters born to ownerless, stray cats in the community.

The low surgery fees are made possible by grants. Also, the City of Cleveland supports its residents’ use of the APL’s TNR program by providing an additional subsidy that allows them to have stray cats found living in Cleveland sterilized for only $10 each. A spay/neuter appointment includes sterilization surgery and age appropriate vaccinations. Cats are ear-tipped for identification – meaning a small portion of the left ear is painlessly removed ─ and then they are returned to their familiar habitats under the care of dedicated caretakers, but no longer able to reproduce and create more homeless cats. As many of these outdoor cats can’t be picked up, the APL provides humane box traps and instructions on their safe use.

Studies show that sterilizing felines in feral colonies will first stabilize the number of resident cats and then lead to a decline through attrition.  Nuisance behaviors associated with breeding, such as the yowling of females or the spraying of toms, are virtually eliminated. The average unspayed female cat can go into heat at 4 months, and generate an annual average of 6.2 surviving kittens, so the 10,000th surgery at the APL has prevented the arrival of and estimated 34,720 cats in the next year. So far in 2010 alone, the Cleveland APL has sterilized 4,500 free-roaming cats through its TNR program.

For more information about the Cleveland APL’s TNR program, call Marta Anderson, Cleveland APL Spay/Neuter Services Supervisor, at 216-377-1624 or visit www.clevelandapl.org/tnr