Rescuing Cats in Caldwell County
Doug and Cherokee Hoffman love cats and a feral colony has started living in the field behind their country place in Caldwell County. Recently they were able to use the spay/neuter benefit offered by Prevent-A-Litter of Central Texas (PALS) to fix their own cats and hope to find help reducing the feral population.
PALS is a non-profit organization that assists people of Hays County and surrounding area who cannot otherwise afford to fix their pets (as funds are available). Qualified candidates usually have low-income, medical hardships, are unemployed, receive Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security or have other extenuating financial circumstances. Because Doug lives on a disability check and Cherokee can’t work, they qualified for a PALS voucher.
Cherokee says, “We’re having a problem right now, see people have a habit of putting their animals out here – throwing them out. There are like 20 cats outside. Three of the kittens I have coaxed inside to try and get them used to people so we can find them homes.”
“We put a sign out on the road advertising free kittens because we can’t afford to feed all those cats. If someone can trap them, they can have them,” Doug said.
Trap-Neuter-Return-Maintain (TNRM) is the only humane method of controlling the feral cat population. TNRM spares the lives of free-roaming cats, whether they are feral, stray or abandoned. Cats are trapped humanely, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and then returned to their outdoor homes. During surgery, the cats’ left ears are tipped so that they can easily be recognized as having been spayed/neutered. Back in their colonies, the cats live healthier lives, the smells and noise associated with mating disappear, there are no more litters, and the colony numbers naturally reduce over time
The Hoffman’s heard about the PALS voucher program from their vet. Doug says, “We got us a big yellow Tom, and he’s got him a harem out in the fields, he is one scrappy cat – he shows up with scratches and cuts all the time and we see little yellow kittens following behind momma cats.”
“We’re gonna take care of the cats, we’re animals lovers, and we’re not going to put them in the humane society because they get killed,” Cherokee says. “If people want a kitten we can trap one for them.”