WINNSBORO — The cat cottage — or “cattage” as it is known — has been busy at the Fairfield County Adoption Center this month during National Spay and Neuter Month. The center offered discounted rates on adoptions for cats during the month.
The center and the Fairfield County Animal Control also partners with Pets Inc. of West Columbia to help residents who would like to keep their cats but cannot afford to have them spayed or neutered.
David Brown, interim supervisor of Fairfield County Animal Control, said animal control can trap and relocate semi-feral cats to a residence in the country or to someone who needs a cat to keep rats out of a barn or keep the snake population down.
By the end of February, he estimated he will have taken 30 cats to the Pets Inc. program.
The program is a voucher program and is not funded by the county, but Brown said as long as the outside funding comes through, the county will continue its assisting role with the cat transportation.
“It costs $60 to have a cat spayed or $45 to have it neutered,” he said, “and that can be a steep price for a person with 10 cats.”
He said they keep the cats seven hours for observation and the animals are returned to the owner’s property. Last year, he said close to 90 cats from this area were spayed or neutered through the program. That reduced the overall population and rate of euthanizing at the center.
“Since cats are territorial, releasing them back into the wild can help reduce diseases and prevent overpopulation, but it allows the cats to still live out a healthy life,” Brown said.
He was thankful especially for the work of Elaine Gillespie and Nola Armstrong from Animal Mission. He said Pets Inc. is pleased that the county is bringing them animals almost every week.
“They are gung ho and jump on the bandwagon with the proactive approach we are taking,” Brown said.
He spoke of one homeowner in the country who had around 30 cats and is trying to get as many of them fixed as possible and vaccinated so they could be returned to the owner, who has lots of land for that many cats to live on.
Out at Lake Wateree, the county center was able to negotiate a truce between homeowners who felt the area was overpopulated with cats. Seven of the 22 cats in that area were fixed and returned to the wild, but the rest of the cats were placed in homes.
Brown said the program is great for elderly citizens with fixed incomes. He said the center’s goal is to double the number of cats they serve this year.
Brown also thanked Armstrong for getting the county associated with “The Good Bowl,” a natural balance program that collects food for adoption center dogs. He also thanked Shirley Locklair and the volunteers with the Hoof and Paw benevolent society for helping with the cattage.
“She has a real passion as a volunteer for cats that need homes and get the necessary socialization and attention,” he said. “Also Doris Macombson with Blind Dog Bone and Rescue has really helped us with our outreach efforts.”