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The Humane Society Waterville Area (HSWA) is saving lives by focusing resources on community cats in Central Maine. Community cats, also referred to as feral cats, pose a challenge for animal shelters as they are extremely stressed in a shelter environment and very difficult to place. However, due to the generosity of a local anonymous donor and a grant from the Humane Society of the United States, HSWA now has the resources to collaborate with multiple trap, neuter and return (TNR) organizations for the benefit of cats, landowners and municipalities. Since 2010, Dr. Elizabeth Stone of the Community Spay/Neuter Clinic in Topsham has been a statewide pioneer in helping reduce the community cat population through spay/neuter. In addition to partnering with HSWA in this initiative, Dr. Stone and her staff work to get community cats who can be socialized into homes where they can live long, happy lives.
Working with animal control officers from twenty three communities, HSWA is able to help landowners, municipalities, and hundreds of cats. HSWA can provide the resources to humanely trap these cats, arrange for them to be altered at scheduled times and then have them returned to their caretakers who have agreed to continue to provide a source of shelter and ongoing food.
According to Rory Routhier, Interim Director at HSWA, several other statewide TNR organizations are collaborating with their shelter in this effort. Routhier explained, “we couldn’t do this without the help of Community Cat Advocates, Friends of Feral Felines, Conway Spay/Neuter Clinic and Community S/N Clinic.” While some trapped cats are determined to be social and are later adopted, HSWA’s primary approach is to work with feral cat advocates and animal control officers to see these cats returned to barns with caretakers set up to monitor and care for them.
Due to the number of requests for help, TNR efforts must be scheduled in advance. For more information on this program and HSWA’s service area, contact Rory Routhier, or 873-2430. Dr. Stone of the Community Spay/Neuter Clinic in Topsham can be reached at 721-8395.