$40K grant will help reduce stray cats roaming Janesville streets

$40K grant will help reduce stray cats roaming Janesville streets

In recent years Janesville has made strides in trying to reduce the number of stray cats that roam the city, but there are still problem areas threatening to increase those numbers.

Humane society officials said about a quarter of the city’s stray cats come from two neighborhoods — the fourth ward and look west.

To prevent those furry felines from roaming the streets, the humane society in Janesville is using a $40,000 grant from the Petco foundation to help residents in the two low-income neighborhoods have access to pet care without worrying about the cost.

“When talking to the city and the police department we said, ‘Hey, is there a cost at which you think this is prohibitive?’ And the feeling was we need to make these free in order to have the kind of numbers that we are looking to have,” Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin Executive Director Brett Frazier said.

To decrease the chances for neighborhood cats to breed, the funding will provide free spay-and-neuter surgeries and low-cost vaccinations for families.

“The work that we have done over time is being to a degree undone by other cats being either left to wander, let outdoors or just let go and then able to reproduce and contribute to the explosion of kittens we see every year,” he said.

The humane society is also partnering with Community Cat, a nonprofit organization that specializes in working with feral cats by trapping, neutering and releasing them.

Frazier said the TNR (trap, neuter, return) method used by Community Cat will hopefully help them stabilize the problem. Cats will be vaccinated and ear tipped to mark them before being released back in the area where they were found. While it might seem counterproductive, Frazier said the tactic works.

“Cats are territorial, so that same cat will hold its territory, but it won’t have the ability to reproduce. If you take that cat out, another cat just moves right in,” he said.

Frazier said communities around the nation have had great success using the TNR method. More than 280 cities and towns in the U.S have supported the policies.

The humane society will partner with the police department to spread the word to pet owners in the two neighborhoods and sign them up for appointments.