You’ve probably heard them and wondered what you could do about it: The howling, the yowling and the fights that break out between the feral cats that populate the area. These are cats that are either abandoned, stray or don’t belong to anyone and are left to roam the streets and reproduce.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that there are tens of millions of these cats across America.
Many times, they are taken to shelters that end up euthanizing them since the wild cats cannot be adopted. It’s a tragic situation and one that the Tempe City Council is seeking to address through an agreement with the Animal Defense League of Arizona.
The city will encourage residents to get feral or outdoor cats spayed and neutered through ADLA’s Trap, Neuter and Return program.
“Tempe and its residents are concerned about the outdoor cat population and the strain that it can put on neighborhoods,” said Tempe Councilmember Kolby Granville.
“This cooperation between Tempe and the ADLA can help further the TNR program while addressing the issue in the most humane way possible.”
The TNR program allows outdoor cats to be captured, spayed or neutered and then returned to their existing colonies. Throughout the country, TNR is quickly becoming recognized as the most effective approach to decreasing free-roaming cat populations. Because free-roaming cats are sterilized in large numbers, TNR reduces the number of kittens born and, over time, reduces the size of a community’s free-roaming cat population.
The ADLA will establish a Tempe-specific fund that allows residents and businesses to make charitable donations for TNR activities within city limits. The average spay/neuter costs $25, but donors will be able to give in any increment they choose. These funds will be used to organize volunteers and choose one or two feral cat colonies in Tempe to institute a TNR operation. The city will help spread the word about the program with promotional materials and inclusion in community outreach events.
“Tempe City Council worked closely with community stakeholders to come up with the right solution for residents in our city,” said Tempe Vice Mayor Corey Woods.
“Residents can make a strong impact with their donations since these funds will be routed directly to Tempe neighborhoods.”
Residents who have questions regarding feral or outdoor cats, or who may be in need of TNR services, can contact Tempe 311 at 480-350-8311 for a referral to the ADLA hotline.
For more information about outdoor cats in Tempe, visit www.tempe.gov/outdoorcats. For more information about the ADLA and its TNR program, visit www.SpayNeuterHotline.org.