New effort to reduce Delaware’s feral cat population

 (AP Photo/David Gard)

(AP Photo/David Gard)

A $200,000 grant from PetSmart Charities will fund neutering services for some 4,000 free-roaming cats in New Castle County.

It’s estimated that there are 8,000 to 12,000 free-roaming cats living in New Castle, Newark and Bear. That’s the area being targeted by the Forgotten Cats program through funding from PetSmart Charities.

“Our goal is to eliminate the free-roaming cat population and decrease the spread of rabies in our communities,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health.

The grant money will allow Forgotten Cats to stop the breeding cycle for 4,000 cats through the trap-neuter-vaccinate-return process. Sterilizing a large portion of the cat community should cause the gradual decline of the feline population. “The only approach that has proven effective is conducting large-scale, targeted sterilization and vaccination programs,” Rattay said.

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Since 2010, Forgotten Cats has sterilized nearly 90,000 cats, which organizers say has prevented the birth of more than a million unwanted kittens. “We are confident that this effort will succeed in reducing the community cat overpopulation in Delaware,” said Felicia Cross, founder and executive director of Forgotten Cats.

Residents who live in the ZIP codes 19701, 19702, 19711, 19713, and 19720 and can identify areas of feral, stray or unconfined cat are asked to call Forgotten Cats at 302-429-0124.

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