Weeks ago feral cats were on the Aiken City Council agenda, and they weren't the cats meow. A proposed ordinance change would have had them put down in 24 hours rather than 5 days. With thousands of strays, how big of a deal could that be when most people don't even know what feral cats are.
"Until this issue came up, I have to be honest I didn't know what a feral cat was," said Councilman Dick Dewar.
Neither he nor anyone else guessed what a big deal this would be. Soon that little line item on the Aiken City Council Agenda started generating calls from around the country.
"24 hours is not enough to evaluate a cat or any animal to determine if they're feral," says Jackie Younce.
And here at home the Aiken TNR AdvoCATS started --so what is T-N-R?
"You trap the cat, you neuter or spay it, and you return it to where you found it," Younce says.
Younce is an AdvoCATs member. She says that feral cats aren't going to attack, they just want to be left alone.
"They're trying to get away from you, they are not dangerous to other people," she says. "A feral cat won't let a person get close enough to scratch them, much less bite them."
She admits the population is extreme and most feral cats have a dismal fate.
"What are they being produced for," she asks. "They're going to die, they're going to get poisoned."
Thus the N in T-N-R. And, she says, it's cost-effective.
"They pay 10 bucks a day to hold a stray animal, so 50 bucks. A spay and neuter on a cat is 40."
She says the TNR strategy saves money and the lives of kittens, like the ones she rescued. And that, she says, you can't put a price on.
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