Sometimes, setting communities on the right path to save cats’ lives takes working together, face to face, to talk through concerns, offer solutions and make plans. So when a Cedarville, Ohio, resident called me and said local officials had demanded caregivers stop feeding community cats, I hopped on a plane to the village right away.
I sat down at a round table with Cedarville Community Relations Committee members and local Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) advocates from Humane TNR to offer my expertise in creating a TNR program. An important item on the agenda: Managing community concerns so cats and residents can peacefully coexist.
I heard out the concerns of the room, and there were quite a few misconceptions about cats and their place in the community going around. I busted the myths so we could get down to the real business: supporting TNR in Cedarville instead of threatening it. I let committee members know that TNR is the only humane, effective approach to managing community cat populations, and people all around Cedarville have been doing TNR on their own for years.
Once they knew the facts, they agreed that the best next step was to get the mayor and village council on board for a full-fledged TNR program. Of course, Alley Cat Allies is here to help throughout the process, and I’m excited to get the ball rolling!
The next day, Jenna and Amy from Humane TNR were kind enough to take me around to meet with local caregivers. There are incredible, dedicated people in Cedarville working out of their own pocket to help their neighborhood cats. They just need the right support and guidance, and to know their efforts won’t lead to fines or jail time.
Alley Cat Allies plans to help Humane TNR and other local advocates hold workshops on TNR and colony care so these community members are following best practices, and can reach even more of the cats they care so much about.
“Alley Cat Allies has been instrumental in helping our organization educate our community on the importance of properly executed TNR and care of community cats,” Jenna and Amy said to me. “We are extremely grateful an organization such as yours is so willing to help the ‘small guys’ like us.”
Cedarville folks are willing to put in the work, now the village has to meet them halfway. It’s their job to protect their citizens and assure them they won’t be punished for caring for cats—even if that means changing local ordinances.
And when it comes to managing community complaints, the village and Humane TNR volunteers can educate residents on humane deterrents first and foremost. Coffee grounds from the local coffee shop are often all it takes to keep cats from a yard or garden!
I’m confident Cedarville is on the road to achieving something great for its cats and community. All of us at Alley Cat Allies will keep working with the village to make it happen, and we’ll keep you posted.
For the Cats,
Director of Programs
Alley Cat Allies