ELYSBURG — Residents of Ralpho Township asked the board of supervisors Tuesday for assistance in controlling cat colonies described as increasingly problematic.
The comments followed a 20-minute presentation by Martha Kahan, president of No Nonsense Neutering, who informed the board of the nonprofits’ trap, neuter and return (TNR) services to end over-population of cats and made an offer for veterinary services, including spaying and neutering, for a charge of $15 per cat up to 100 cats. The normal charge is $35.
Township Chairman Steve Major directed manager Joseph Springer to locate $1,500 in the 2019 budget and solicitor Todd Kerstetter to review a sample contract submitted by the organization.
Nick O’Donnell, of East Center Street, told the board there are 20 to 35 feral cats living across from his home. O’Donnell, who was accompanied by his wife and young daughter, said his porch smells of cat urine and has removed cats struck and killed by vehicles.
“Every time we look across the street there seems to be a new colony,” he said. “This is a burden on my family.”
Nancy Pasco used her own money to fix several cats living around Walnut Street, but a new colony recently emerged after commercial businesses at Routes 487 and 54 expanded into undeveloped land, which she claimed caused a migration of cats into other sections of Elysburg.
“Four years ago it went down to zero (cats), then all of a sudden I am up to 11,” she told the board. “It’s not our responsibility, but we are taking it on as humans. What we are asking for is help.”
No Nonsense Neutering has fixed more than 94,000 cats and dogs since forming in 2008. Clinics are located in Reading, Hatfield and Mahanoy City and have a combined staff of one full-time veterinarian, four part-time veterinarians and 18 technicians.
Kahan said No Nonsense Neutering identifies colonies, then provides traps and works with feeders to get cats familiar with the devices before they are used. Cats are taken to a clinic, where they are checked for micro chips and, depending on the sex, spade or neutered.
“This is important because every female has two or three litters a year,” she said. “They will keep producing until they drop over.”
Advantages of the program, she said, are that colonies will decrease and neutering a cat will remove the odor and reduce the motivation for spraying. Disadvantages are the cost out of pocket and the time and manpower to reduce colonies.
“Cats are not going anywhere,” she said. “What doesn’t work is what we have been doing; which is nothing.”