Neighborhood says initiative helped reduce cat population - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Neighborhood says initiative helped reduce cat population

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A South Bend neighborhood says it's found the secret to reducing the cat overcrowding in their streets.

It's an initiative that's relatively new in Michiana, that's also being used in cities across the country.

It's call T-N-R or trap, neuter, return and supporters say it could work in your neighborhood too.

"That's 'Loudly.' He's one of our first victories. "

Becky Kaiser says "Loudly" is one of only a few cats roaming around her South Bend neighborhood, but it didn't use to be that way.

"Four years ago we were inundated with cats and because we're a high rental property neighborhood people would get their kids cats and then they'd move and leave the cats behind," says Kaiser.

Now that's all changed. Kaiser says it's thanks to the Michiana Feral Cat Initiative.

Animal lover Pam Wesolowski heads the volunteer group that traps, spays or neuters, and returns the cats to their neighborhoods. She says it's the most humane way to control the cat population, that is over-populating our shelters.

"There's just so many cats and you can't kill your way out of it so it's just progressive steps, trying to get that cat population to go down," says Wesolowski.

And Kaiser says it's really worked for her neighborhood.

"We haven't had any kittens this year. In the previous years, because we hadn't got TNR so established in this neighborhood, I was trying to find rescues for kittens," says Kaiser.

Michiana Feral Cat Initiative started in 2009 and Wesolowski says the same model is working well on a larger scale for other cities across the country.

"They've seen like a 40% reduction in two years on the euthanasia rates, 25% less cats coming into the shelter," says Wesolowski.

Wesolowski says she's hoping to partner with the city of South Bend to grow the initiative here and see similar results.

Kaiser says another bonus to the initiative, is that with the vacant and abandoned homes in the area, having a few cats in the neighborhood controls the vermin problem as well.

If you'd like to learn more about the Michiana Feral Cat Initiative, visit http://www.michianaferal.org or call 574.387.7840.

If you'd like to do your own trapping, volunteers with the non-profit say call them first for instructions.

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