Cripple Creek Ferals & Friends has only been around since January, but owner Jill Kirsch said she has been rescuing and “fixing” feral cats for years.
“Rather than be known as that crazy cat lady, I thought I’d make it official,” she said of putting her name on a business card and Petfinder web page.
In February, the new organization took on a feral cat population living in a garage in Greentown. The house on the property had caught fire, badly injuring Nelda Kinsley, then 78, who had been feeding the dozens of cats.
At the time, Kirsch told The Repository her group already had trapped about 40 of the cats to have them spayed or neutered, then returned most of them about two years before.
Kirsch and Diane Olshawsky had returned a week before the fire, trapped several more and had taken them to the veterinarian for surgery.
Kirsch kept 25 cats following the fire, finding most of them homes. She has nine left, with twin tabbies leaving soon.
She has rescued feral cats that have taken months, even years, to let her touch them. “Ferals see a person and run away and hide,” Kirsh said.
She started her rescue group, she said, simply because there were no agencies to deal with the problem that keeps worsening. The most common places for feral cat populations are behind restaurants, in trailer parks, and apartment complexes, she said.
Alley Cat Allies, a feral cat organization, says catch and kill methods employed by animal control will temporarily reduce the cats in an area, but survivors will continue to breed, and new cats will move in.
Kirsch believes her group does more to lessen the problem — taking the humane route. She estimates her organization has prevented about 335 kittens from being born. They have spayed and neutered 127 cats, with 67 female. Her estimate is based on a female kitten having a litter of five.
That’s a conservative number said, Heather Camburn, director of One of a Kind Pet, the spay/neuter clinic Kirsch uses. She said cats can go into heat many times per year.
Camburn said her clinic offers Cripple Creek, and other groups, feral cat packages to help people get their colonies under control.
What is a feral cat?
Feral cats are those born and raised in the wild, or who have been abandoned and reverted to wild ways in order to survive. Some feral cats may tolerate humans, but most are too fearful and wild to be handled. They often live in groups, called colonies, and take refuge wherever they can find food and shelter.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the number of feral cats in the United States is estimated to be in the tens of millions. Many communities opt to control populations by lethal elimination or relocation. The ASPCA says these methods can be cruel and ineffective.
Page 2 of 2 - Help Cripple Creek Ferals and Friends
Monetary donations may be made by check to: CCFF, P.O. Box 272, Uniontown OH 44685; or to One of a Kind Pet Clinic with CCFF specified on check at 1700 W. Exchange St., Akron OH 44313
Giftcards to PetSmart, Pet Supplies Plus or Giant Eagle are appreciated. For cats in their care, they need Purina Cat Chow, Purina One Beyond, Friskies canned pate and Tidy Cat 24/7 scoopable litter.
Cripple Creek will have a booth set up at First Friday in Canton on Oct. 7 behind the 2nd April Galerie.
Cripple Creek does not have a shelter and cannot take in litters of unwanted kittens. If contacted, they will help direct people on how to find homes for feral cats. Cripple Creek will not return feral cats to places where there is no shelter or a caretaker to feed them.
For information, visit www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH915.html
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