Town of Brookhaven TNR [trap-neuter-return] Task Force, which started up as a pilot program in March, has already spayed and neutered 113 cats in the local area in April, according to Erica Kutzing, one of the heads of the task force and animal rescuer with Strong Island Animal Rescue League.
On a call with the Port Jefferson village board July 20, Kutzing said 113 cats no longer producing kittens means an exponential decline in the number of feral cats (aka community cats) crowding local areas.
While in the grand scheme of the many thousands of feral cats in local communities 113 may seem paltry, every neutered or spayed cat is potentially a way to slow the growth of feral communities. Kutzing said they have trapped, neutered and returned 40 feral cats back into their homes in Port Jefferson. Of those 40, if 20 are female, that means those cats can no longer produce five additional kittens per litter; and if a cat produces two litters per year, neutering 20 potentially prevents 200 more cats on the streets.
“Every neighborhood has a feral cat,” Kutzing said. “They usually hide, and you don’t see them, but there are feral cats all over the place.”
The Brookhaven voted to create the task force back in March, providing $60,000 that all goes to the costs of paying a veterinarian to perform the procedures. Kutzing, who works with Katrina Denning, the founder of Jacob’s Hope Rescue, and cat enthusiast Jenny Luca all work on a voluntary basis. They said the pandemic put their plans on hold, but they plan to be out again in August.
Though she said some locals may be hesitant to contact them, Kutzing emphasized there is no charge to the homeowner and they are professionals who know how to capture the felines without harming them. Though some residents may want the rescuers to move the cats from the area, taking an animal like a feral cat away from its habitat is considered abuse and is against the law.
The TNR Task Force can be contacted online at its Facebook page by searching TNR Taskforce of Brookhaven.