Caton woman looks for help with feral cats
CATON, N.Y. (WENY) -- A Caton resident, Barbara Cowles, has been trying to deal with a feral cat colony in her neighborhood for over 20 years and she has had enough. Cowles said Caton Center Cross Road's neighborhood has been dealing with this problem since the late 90s.
She took on the role of catching them and getting them neutered or spayed. Cowles said it has become a heavy burden over the years.
“We've had problems since the farms, the smaller farms, have all been shutting down,” she said. “When they had shut down, guess where the cats were going that were living on the farms? Anywhere they could.”
Many of those cats wound up at Cowles's house. Currently, she owns seven that have sought out her help. She said she cannot keep up. While she attempts to catch and get as many cats fixed as she can, she said other people in the neighborhood have other methods such as shooting them on the spot.
“I have heard of people having kittens and cats go to a farm only to find out that it was just in time for the snake feeding,” she said.
Now, she is looking for solutions. Although she lives in Steuben County, she credits the Chemung County SPCA for helping in any way they can.
“The SPCA has helped in the way that they have a program...if you are taking care of these animals and what you want to do is just make sure that somehow...they get homes,” she said.
The Chemung County SPCA's Executive Director Tom Geroy said anyone with the same issues as Cowles can take advantage of their programs like the Community Cat Program.
“The more that your get spayed and neutered, the less reproduction there is, and over time...you see a decrease in the population,” he said.
On top of the SPCA's help, Cowles wants to raise money for a "neuter commuter." Essentially, the idea is, someone travels by vehicle to places where cats need to be spayed and neutered. She plans to have fund-raising events for this cause in the near future.
Cowles has made helping cats her mission.
“They need help...because no one is doing it,” she said.