Cats in our community are often living a precarious existence. There are cat colonies all over; in neighborhoods, at local businesses, vacant lots, parks, and backyards. Some are well-managed. Others are overrun with hungry, frightened cats and are perceived as a problem to either try to eliminate or simply ignore. For too long, people looked away as litter after litter of kittens added to the problem.

Caring for homeless and feral cats can become overwhelming. Kind-hearted animal lovers provide food and shelter for these cats, but the problem grows without spaying and neutering.

As many cat advocates believe, TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) is the most viable and effective approach to managing community cats. Most TNRs include vaccinations, so the term “TNVR” is also used by some organizations.

There is a small but mighty group in our area who decided to take action. Colorado KAT Coalition, (KAT stands for Kitty Allies and TNVR) is run entirely by a group of dedicated volunteers. CKC’s mission is to provide high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter services and make a measurable impact on cat overpopulation with a focus on community and abandoned cats. They’re working to expand spay/neuter services, TNR, and rescue opportunities. In under a year, they’ve spayed and neutered over 1400 cats.

Second Chance has worked with CKC from the beginning. We’ve spayed and neutered many cats, taken in adoptable cats, assisted with medical needs and expenses, and worked on TNR projects. Second Chance Veterinary Services clinic at our shelter hosts periodic spay/neuter clinics in collaboration with the Colorado KAT Coalition, SLV Spay & Neuter Alliance, and Bergen Spay & Neuter. We are committed to educating about TNR, proper cat trapping, and community cat management. Second Chance has a trap bank that we share with Colorado KAT Coalition.

A recent TNR collaboration opportunity came when a family in Montrose found themselves overwhelmed with cats. Their kind hearts and love for animals created a growing population. They knew these cats needed to be altered, but didn’t know how they would catch them, get them to a veterinarian or clinic, and most of all, pay for it.

Second Chance and Colorado KAT worked together with our veterinary partners over a two-week period to Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return twenty-one cats from this location. The first week, we brought 17 cats to a Bergen Spay & Neuter Clinic in Delta. The second group of four cats were altered by SLV Spay & Neuter Alliance at the Montrose Event Center during a clinic hosted by KAT. The altered cats are now back where they were trapped, living in the area they call home. The family will feed and care for them, relieved that these cats will no longer be contributing to the overpopulation issue and can live happier, healthier lives.

We believe that anyone who cares about cats should follow: “If you FEED THEM, FIX THEM!” Second Chance and KAT are happy to help when we can.

Garfield came to us after he had been living on the streets. He’s a big fluffy orange tabby who adores all the attention he can get! He will meow quietly at you like he’s having a conversation and loves to welcome anyone into a room with a tiny meow.

For thirty years, the Animal Resource Center and Shops of Second Chance Humane Society have been serving Ouray, San Miguel, and Montrose Counties. Our adoption hours are from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can view our shelter pets and services online at Connecting Pets, People, and Community While Saving Lives.