September 13th, 2022
By Beth Gammie, Director of Field Services
In the sweltering heat of a Florida summer, our RedRover Responders team gathered in Wakulla County for the first TNR (trap-neuter-release) of our “Coastal Cats” initiative, designed to give the community a leg up in their efforts to curb cat overpopulation. Over the course of this four-day event in August, we successfully trapped and sterilized 145 cats in three main trapping areas; cared for them as they recovered safely indoors at our temporary shelter; then released them to their original trapping location.
RedRover partnered with Operation Catnip to create Coastal Cats, which focuses on TNRs in coastal areas where free-roaming cats would be most impacted by hurricanes and storm surges. A rural county that borders the Gulf of Mexico, we chose Wakulla County because, amidst the ongoing local efforts to provide low-cost spay/neuter, we knew they could use some help in making their cat numbers more manageable.
Together with Operation Catnip, PAWS of Wakulla, and community volunteers, we set out in three teams to trap in the areas with the greatest need. Some areas were right on the coast; others were in places that would be submerged by hurricane storm surge. A specially dedicated sheltering team cared for the cats as they came to the shelter after being trapped. Shepherd Spring Animal Hospital generously hosted the spay/neuter clinic, and Operation Catnip recruited the veterinarians and techs to staff the clinic.
Our trapping teams were welcomed by the cats’ caregivers, some of whom had many cats on their land and were so glad to receive help in preventing the growth of their colony through litter after litter.
We even had a reunification over the course of the event, after clinic staff identified one of the trapped cats through a microchip and made contact with the owners! The family had been missing their cat for a year, and it was incredibly heartwarming to witness their reunion.
The hours were long and the work was hard, but knowing how much we helped prevent cat suffering through this TNR was hugely satisfying.
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