Cleveland Residents Can Help Stray Cats for $10

Jason Cook

City of Cleveland Offers $30 Subsidy for Spay/Neuter Surgery to Residents and Rescue Groups Helping Free Roaming Cleveland Cats

When City of Cleveland Kennel Division phones ring, chances are good it’s a complaint about an outdoor cat from an exasperated resident.  As a result, the City and the Cleveland Animal Protection League (APL) have launched a groundbreaking partnership to stem the growing tide of homeless cats roaming the community by offering very low cost spay-neuter surgeries for free roaming cats to Cleveland residents at the APL’s spay-neuter clinic.   The City of Cleveland Public Safety Department has budgeted $40,000 in 2009 to subsidize $30 of the resident’s $40 fee for sterilizing feral cats from the streets of Cleveland.

“This program, modeled after other successful programs throughout the United States, helps reduce the overpopulation of stray and unwanted cats and provides a much needed pet-friendly service to the residents of our community,” stated Public Safety Director Martin Flask.

“There are thousands of homeless outdoor cats roaming the streets of our community and breeding right now,” said Sharon Harvey, Cleveland Animal Protective League Executive Director. “Already, we have moms and kittens coming in at an alarming rate, and we won’t be able to keep up unless we get as many of them as we can sterilized now.”
“We’re delighted that the City of Cleveland has recognized that preventing the births of cats is more humane and cost-efficient than trying to round them up for euthanasia after they are born,” continued Harvey. “This partnership will serve as an enlightened national model to reversing the tragic suffering of cats on the streets while serving the interests of constituents.”

Cleveland City Council members report that complaints about cats are more frequent than those for other well-recognized problems such as potholes or streetlights.  The APL and the City point to studies that 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. Many people don’t realize that un-spayed cats can go into heat at just 4 months of age and give birth to three litters each year.

The Cleveland APL evaluates, sterilizes, and vaccinates cats who are brought to their clinic in humane traps. Cats that have undergone the procedure are ear-tipped for identification – meaning a small portion of the left ear is painlessly removed. They are then returned to their familiar habitats under the care of dedicated caretakers.
To participate or for more information about the Cleveland APL’s TNR program, call Marta Anderson, Cleveland APL Spay/Neuter Services Supervisor, at 216-377-1624 or to learn more about the APL’s program and other programs in the area, visit CLEVELAND APL TRAP-NEUTER-RETURN PROGRAMS.