ASHTABULA — The Community Cat Coalition has been working for the past two years to help control the population of stray cats in Ashtabula County.
So far this year, the group has helped 340 cats, including 33 cats trapped this past weekend in Ashtabula, Geneva and Conneaut, said volunteer Kim Fedler. The cats were sent to area veterinarians to be neutered or spayed.
“We got 16 kittens off the streets just this weekend alone,” she said. “Now these kittens don’t have to live in fear of cars, fear of predators, fear of violence against them nor worry about lack of food, veterinarian care, or attention.”
The group has fixed 1,100 cats, including about 500 females, thanks to its Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” Fedler said.
The coalition started in January 2020 with a group of dedicated volunteers. In their first year, they fixed 510 cats and raised $19,000 — some of which was their own money, she said.
In 2021, they paid to fix 621 cats and raised $25,000, she said.
The Community Cats Coalition helps residents with TNR, proven to be the most effective and humane way to control the feral/stray cat population. Volunteers coordinate trapping cats, schedule dates with low-cost spay/neuter clinics and transport 25-30 cats at a time to and from the clinics. Each free-roaming cat also receives an ear-tip so they can be identified as fixed.
The group also helps owners get their indoor or indoor/outdoor pet cats fixed.
“Many people just can’t afford to fix their cats,” Fedler said.
Many people are leaving their pets behind when they move because they can’t afford to take care of them.
This year, the group tackled a major milestone — they became a non-profit, allowing donors to claim their donations on their income taxes.
Fedler said it’s amazing how fast cats can multiply.
Most female cats birth four to six kittens per litter and have two to three litters a year. Given the coalition’s numbers, Fedler said the TNR program prevented 8,800 kittens from being born in Ashtabula County.
City Council President John Roskovics has repeatedly applauded the group for their efforts.
“To see a problem and then develop such effective strategies to improve that problem is inspiring,” he said.
Fedler said their goal is to find a building, and their biggest need is money to cover costs.
To donate to the Community Cat Coalition, go to https://www.facebook.com/Community-Cats-Coalition-of-Ashtabula-County.
To get involved in trapping, transporting, cat care, or to become a foster home for kittens, message the coalition’s Facebook page, or email CCCAsthabula@gmail.com.