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The People's Tribune

Louisiana Community Cat Coalition Efforts Yielding Positive Results In Controlling Population, Behavior

Volunteer-Based Organization Needs Help, Donations To Continue Work

Part Two Of Two-Week Series On LCCC Efforts

In less than a year of operation, almost 100 cats in Louisiana have been trapped, then professionally spayed/neutered and returned to the area from which they were trapped in an effort to decrease the population in town, particularly stray, feral and “community” cats.

The group responsible for making this happen is the Louisiana Community Cat Coalition (LCCC). The group approached the city with a plan last year that was several years in the making behind the efforts of Deborah Rue Holland.

The group is a not-for-profit organization with 501c3 status so all donations are tax-deductible. LCCC used the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) method which has been proven to effectively and efficiently reduce cat populations and improve the overall health of homeless cats.

In information provided to the city by LCCC it was stated that TNR programs have proven advantages over traditional methods of animal control. TNR offers permanent reduction of populations, thus reducing stress on animal shelters, rescues and eliminates the killing of healthy, though unadoptable, cats.

Furthermore, the method is proven to reduce nuisance behaviors such as yowling, fighting and urine marking. The TNR method not only provides financial savings, but also helps save time for the animal control officer.

“We are spay/neuter advocates and work with other rescues,” Holland noted. “We want to strengthen the ties within the rescue communities and work together and help new groups get going.”

She pointed out that other communities can adopt the same method and added she is more than happy to share the information and the proposal she drew up to work with the City of Louisiana.

The group held a large TNR event last week. A total of 34 cats were trapped in certain areas of Louisiana. All of them were treated by professionals with the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. The mobile unit provided vaccination, spay and neuter services and after-care.

Holland said that five locations (colonies) have been completed in Louisiana at this time. Each area had between three to eight cats.

The mobile unit comes for a cost of about $425. Jerry and Gail Smith offer space for the work to be conducted.

It works out to about $8.50 per cat that would not receive veterinary services in any other way.

LCCC held its first large event last November and almost 50 cats were treated. A smaller event was held in February where 17 cats received treatment.

All of the work was done from fund-raising efforts by a handful of hard-working volunteers.

Holland and the others physically trap the cats in targeted areas with humane traps. The cats sit overnight before treatment the following morning. They are fed and tended to appropriately throughout the process. Once they are deemed ready for release, the cats are returned to the area from which they were trapped. Cats who have been treated also have their ears “tipped” so they are recognizable to volunteers and animal control as a cat that has already been treated.

The mobile unit that visited last week brought two licensed veterinarians, two technicians and seven students who are completing training.

Holland said ideally the group could have about six large-scale events and smaller events six more times every year.

Research has shown that if an area can treat up to 70 percent of the cat population, the numbers quickly reflect the results in the long-term. Just destroying a cat does not make true strides in controlling population.

Currently the program depends on the efforts of Holland, who also coordinates with other area efforts; Barbara Simonton, who also works with the John Cotton Animal Shelter; Tammi Smith who works with Diva’s Wish Rescue; and Morgan Windmiller.

Holland noted the group is in desperate need of more volunteers. She pointed out that efforts can be as small or as large as a person is willing to give. The same is true of donations. The group has numerous ways in which an individual can give.

The group needs traps. LCCC currently partners with other organizations such as the Paws On Me group in Lincoln County which has donated traps for efforts in the past. There is a wealth of information about ideal traps on the group’s Facebook and other fundraising pages.

The best traps have two doors and are 10-inches in diameter and about 32-inches long. Holland pointed out they are sold online and at farm stores such as Orscheln’s and Tractor Supply.

The group also needs old flannel sheets, fleece blankets, food and cash donations.

Much more information about the group and the TNR method can be found on the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisianaMOCats. Donations can be made using PayPal or by emailing LaCatsTNR@ gmail.com. The group also has a fundraising page (similar to GoFundMe) on YouCaring at http://bit.ly/2fhhmFA.

LCCC is now on Amazon Smile. Those who shop using Amazon to shop can select LCCC to receive a donation. Visit the group’s “wish list” online at https://smile.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/H7ZTE3QP33KH/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_1

Those who would like to send a donation of a trap, cash or otherwise can also send it to: LCCC, 209 Highview Street, Louisiana, MO 63353.

Those who would like to reach out to the organization about areas of cat problems in Louisiana or to volunteer or donate can also call 573-340-5481 or send an email.

TNR stops the breeding cycle of cats and therefore improves their lives while preventing reproduction. Holland noted the group also tries to educated people who feed and care for stray or “community cats” to help the situation be more neighbor-friendly.

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