The Allen County SPCA is asking for the public’s support to save the lives of hundreds of cats with the help of an anonymous matching gift. Each gift made toward the Operation C.A.T. campaign through October 31, 2017 will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000.
In June, the Allen County SPCA launched Operation C.A.T. (Cat Action Team) in partnership with Fort Wayne’s Animal Welfare Coalition (Allen County SPCA, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, and H.O.P.E. for Animals). The new program aims to reduce euthanasia through targeted sterilization of Allen County’s stray and feral felines. These cats are rarely adoptable and face near-certain death in shelters.
Through a method called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), Operation C.A.T. is helping to manage feline overpopulation in our area. Cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped and microchipped. After surgery, they return to the area where they were found and a caretaker provides them with ongoing food, water and shelter.
Since its inception, Operation C.A.T. has already served over 600 felines. If the Allen County SPCA reaches its fundraising goal, it will be able to provide an additional 500 surgeries for area strays.
"We started the program with an initial grant of $60,000 from Best Friends Animal Society (with support from Maddie’s Fund) to develop and implement the program and complete 500 surgeries. We’re just three months into the program and have already exceeded that number. It’s already putting a strain on shelter resources. It’s October now, which means we’re already seeing the second wave of this year’s kittens," says Jessica Henry, Executive Director at the Allen County SPCA.
"The reality is that there are an estimated 16,000 strays in our area. Thousands of them end up in shelters every year, and half of them don’t make it out alive. TNR is the most effective method of reducing shelter death by humanely controlling the population."
Just one pair of unaltered cats can result in as many as 72 offspring over the course of 18 months. When these stray cats and kittens enter shelters, they drain already-limited resources and take up space – resulting in near certain death for them and decreased chances for survival for adoptable animals.