Cat population booming | SierraSun.com

Cat population booming

Christina Nelson

Although Truckee may not become the next Rome, Italy – with stray cats every which way you turn – the Humane Society of Truckee reports a high number of cats that need to be adopted.

The Humane Society currently has about 30 kittens who are either in foster care or who are ready to be adopted.

“The number goes up and down as Animal Control brings them in or people bring them to us,” said Carol Merjil, a Humane Society volunteer who runs the cat program. “Nine kittens went out this week, but a mom with eight kittens came in.”

She said there are also a lot of “backyard breeders” who don’t understand the extent of the problem and continue to breed. Often those cats end up in shelters.

The town’s Animal Control, which works closely with the Humane Society, contracts with Loyalton and Portola, which is where most of the cats in the Humane Society’s care come from.

“I don’t charge them for turning in their kittens, but I do try to convince them to spay or neuter their cats,” Merjil said.

She said a woman recently turned in a litter of kittens and when Merjil tried to get her to spay her cat, the woman said she couldn’t afford it. But later in the conversation, the same woman said she was having her cat’s claws removed.

Merjil said there’s no excuse for people who don’t spay or neuter their cats because of the low-cost program offered by the Humane Society, which charges $35 for female cats and $25 for male cats.

Because the Humane Society does not have a shelter, the cats that are brought in are either boarded at Sierra Pet Clinic or put in a foster home until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered and then adopted.

Meg Raymore, who’s lived in Truckee for two years, recently became involved in the Humane Society’s foster program for cats. She and her husband are currently taking care of seven kittens and the mother until they can be adopted.

“It’s easy to let go of the kittens [for adoption],” she said. “But I always feel bad for the mom because she’s already been given away.”

Raymore said that foster parents take care of the kittens until they’re old enough to be spayed or neutered, and then they are put up for adoption.

Anyone can become a Humane Society foster parent, Merjil said, but they generally need to have a spare bedroom for the animals.

Merjil noted that it’s always better for cats to be brought to the Humane Society and put into a foster program because the cats will be spayed or neutered, instead of left to continue the breeding cycle.

For more information on being a foster parent for cats or dogs, or to volunteer with the Humane Society, call 587-5948.