Clinics continue to deal with feral cat problem in Wexford Co. | New
CADILLAC — As many drove to work on a recent morning in June, a small group of dedicated women were preparing to help solve a community problem.
This morning, this group of women gather at the National Guard Armory in Cadillac as part of the Wonderland Human Society. The group was preparing to do another spaying or neutering clinic for feral cats.
The volunteers who make up the Wonderland Humane Society work from home and meet monthly at the Cadillac Wexford Public Library. The organization has been around for 50 years and during that time the goals have remained the same.
These goals include promoting animal health and welfare in our community; educate the community about animal welfare and the groups and resources available to help them; and be a communication link between local animal organizations to better serve and educate the public.
Founded in 1970, Wonderland Humane Society was one of the first animal welfare groups to operate in Northern Michigan.
He’s served many community needs over the years, including spaying assistance, fostering pets, humane education, and even operating the county animal shelter for a while. time during a period of funding shortage. Recently, he has provided financial assistance to local groups such as the Pit Stop/Save A Buddy Program, Animal Advocates Trap/Neuter/Release, and Ani-Meals food pantry.
For 45 years, Wonderland worked with the money it had in a bank account from bequests. Eventually, the group began fundraising to help provide the money needed to fund its mission.
During the pandemic, Wonderland received requests from people who had large numbers of feral cats on their property. They couldn’t afford to neuter or neuter 15-20 cats, so the Humane Society decided to reinvent what they were doing to achieve their goal.
That’s when the idea of having trap, neuter and release clinics came up. In 2021, Wonderland had seven in all and that included the neutering of three entire colonies of feral cats. While Wonderland pays for the majority of the procedures, people who bring the cats are also asked to pay a small fee. Vets who perform the procedures also do them at a discount.
Wonderland Humane Society volunteer Sunny Crips said at the recent clinic that the plan was to spay 31 cats. All were feral cats, but Crips also said some of them were feral kittens that had been rescued and domesticated.
She said the first year of the clinics was a success and hopes this year will be even more successful in terms of the number of colonies of feral cats the group can completely neuter. The recent clinic was the fourth of the year.
“We have enough money to sustain this for five years. We are committed to raising funds to achieve this,” she said.
The hope is that city and county officials will respond to correspondence sent by Wonderland asking them to partner with them to resolve this issue. The group also reached out to area vets to see if they could get more to partner with them to run the spaying and neutering clinics.
So far, no municipality has responded to their requests for assistance and only a handful of vets have, according to Crips.
“Our hardest job is finding vets to use it,” Crips said.
Cindy Bryan, who was helping the vet perform the procedures on the cats, said from what she’s seen attending these clinics, the feral cat problem is everywhere. She said it was not an economic, social or geographical problem. It’s everywhere.
As long as there is food, Bryan says there will be cats. Bryan said she attended clinics in Gratiot, Isabella, Clare and Wexford counties and it was still the same. The problem with feral cats comes down to one thing: money. Money to care for their pets or once a colony of feral cats have established themselves on someone’s property, money to neuter multiple cats.
This is where clinics come in to provide a service.
“It made a huge difference. I think people are more educated about it now than they used to be. It makes a difference and I hear it from animal control officers,” she said. “People want to do the right thing. It’s just a matter of being able to afford to do the right thing.
Crips said people were starting to learn more about the issue and to be educated about the Humane Society’s mission, which led to an increase in volunteers. Crips joked that the group had grown from a handful of older women to a group of women of varying ages.
Now, human society has an average age of 50 to 55 who is ready to do the things that need to be done. She also said everyone is encouraged to come to their meetings on the third Tuesday of every month from 3-4 p.m. at Cadillac United Methodist Church.