Feral cat overload has friend at a loss

My friend lives on a dead-end street in south Medford. People are always dumping cats and kittens there. She now has more than 35. She cannot afford to have them spayed or neutered, so she keeps them.

She is the type of person who cannot have them put down. What are her options? She does not have the income to keep feeding them.

— No name given, via email

Your friend is in a tough situation, but we spoke with Sally Mackler at Spay/Neuter Your Pet, a nonprofit organization focused on spay/neuter referral and assistance in Jackson County, and she had plenty of advice for your friend, as well as for other individuals with large populations of feral cats in their neighborhood.

"They should give us a call, and we will do our best to help them," Mackler said.

Mackler explained that in such situations SNYP trains owners of feral or untamed cats on how to set humane traps and safely transport them to veterinarians who are trained to deal with cats that aren't tamed.

"We have an ongoing, yearlong program for feral cats," she said. "It's called T-N-R — trap, neuter, release."

She lamented that the problem can quickly get out of hand, so it's best to call her organization when the problem is small.

"It's so predictable that they're going to breed," she said. "It quickly gets out of control."

She clarified that it's still better to address the problem late than never.

"Of course we would try and help her," she said.

Cost to spay or neuter a feral cat through SNYP is usually $30 per cat, but there is a patch of good luck for your friend, unnamed reader. SNYP will hold a feral cat clinic this weekend. Cost is a minimum donation of $5 per cat, and space is limited. Mackler clarified that the clinic is not for tame cats, and pet cats will be turned away.

She urges all pet owners, particularly cat owners, to spay or neuter their pets.

"They all came from a pet cat at some point that someone neglected to fix," she said. "It's entirely preventable."

For information on SNYP's programs for feral cats, or spay and neuter programs for other pets, call 541-858-3325 or see www.spayneuter.org.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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