Regional Animal Services working to change image of outdoor cats

Saturday, November 23, 2013

One of the many feral cats placed in barns and garages through the
Regional Animal Services "Barn Cats R Us" program.
Note the tipped left ear, which indicates that
this cat has been altered to prevent breeding. 

Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) is joining with animal organizations nationwide to change the image of outdoor cats. RASKC has partnered with Alley Cat Allies to raise awareness of the plight of these animals, and build support for humane solutions to dealing with them.

"While the best place for a cat is indoors with a loving family, that's not always possible for cats that aren't used to living with people," said Dr. Gene Mueller, manager of RASKC. "Fortunately, Regional Animal Services works with volunteers and community organizations to trap, spay or neuter, and place these cats where they can live out their lives as working cats."

One way that RASKC is working to turn feral cats into working cats is through the "Barn Cats R Us" program. This volunteer-led effort rehomes outdoor cats to barns and garages, as well as local businesses, where they work as rodent hunters.

"Outdoor cats provide totally natural, organic mouse and rat control," added Dr. Mueller. "Barn cats tend to hide from humans, and except for the occasional dead rodent they leave behind, you'll rarely see any evidence of them."

Along with rural barns and garages, Barn Cats R Us has rehomed feral cats to a local golf course, a winery, plant nurseries, and a King County water treatment plant. The cats are placed in small colonies, usually in groups of three or four. All of the cats have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped for identification, and have been tested for feline diseases. Best of all, there is no charge for this service, and volunteers are available to assist with placing barn cats. For more information, email Barn Cats or call RASKC at 206-296-7387.

In addition to the barn cats program, RASKC also works with South County Cats, Puget Sound Working Cats, Pasado's Safe Haven, Northwest Spay and Neuter Center, and the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project to save the lives of feral cats through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs, spay/neuter services to reduce unwanted litters, and efforts to find homes for adoptable cats.

The Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project was started by a veterinarian formerly in practice in Shoreline. Since its inception in 1997, it has altered 85,063 cats. So far in 2013, they have altered 5,384 cats.

Learn more about Barn Cats R Us on the King County website.


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