Cat sterilization effort expands to southern Delaware

 (AP Photo/David Gard)

(AP Photo/David Gard)

Following a successful effort to limit the feral cat population in parts of New Castle County, Forgotten Cats is taking their program to southern Delaware.

Since 2015, workers and volunteers at Forgotten Cats have helped reduce the feral cat population in northern Delaware with the help of a grant from PetSmart Charities. Over that time, the organization said that effort reduced the number of unsterilized free-roaming cats in New Castle County by 35 percent.

Now, the group has it sites set on southern Delaware. “Until now, there has been little help for Sussex County’s feral and stray cats, as well as their caretakers,” said Forgotten Cats founder Felicia Cross. “We intend to change that.”

Another grant from PetSmart will fund Forgotten Cats’ neuter and vaccination process that’s designed to limit reproduction of an entire colony at one time.

Responding to calls from residents in targeted neighborhoods, Forgotten Cats’ volunteers will trap all the cats in a feral colony and transport them to their clinic just north of the Delaware border in Pennsylvania. There, the cats are sterilized and vaccinated, then either returned to their original location, or put up for adoption if domesticated enough.

Cross said their efforts not only reduces the feral cat population, but it also reduces animal suffering. “It allows us to give medical treatments to feral cats who wouldn’t have access to such care, as well as prevent the births of homeless kittens,” Cross said. “It’s a win-win for everyone involved, humans and cats alike.”

Residents in the following Sussex County zip codes can call Forgotten Cats at 302-429-0124 to have feral cats in their neighborhood sterilized and vaccinated for free under the PetSmart grant funding: 19931, 19933, 19939, 19940, 19941, 19944, 19945, 19950, 19951, 19960, 19963, 19966, 19967, 19968, 19970, 19971 and 19975. The grant funds do not cover those living in Georgetown, Lewes or Seaford.

Since 2003, more than 100,000 cats have been sterilized by Forgotten Cats in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. It’s estimated that those sterilizations have prevented the births of millions of homeless kittens.

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