PUBLISHED: 1:21 PM on Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Program aims to reduce homeless cat problem
"Fascinating Ferals" will be the topic of a free educational forum at 1 p.m. Oct. 16, National Feral Cat Day, at the Gastineau Humane Society. The event will include a talk by "The Catwoman," Linda Daniel, a video and demonstrations of how to safely handle a feral cat.

Admission is free, but donations will go to Feral Fix, a pilot program being introduced by the Gastineau Humane Society.

Feral Fix is based on a proven method of humanely reducing the number of homeless cats, according to Chava Lee, executive director of the Gastineau Humane Society.

It involves spaying and neutering feral cats that are then released to caregivers who agree to provide food and shelter for them.

The approach, which is being used successfully in many communities, is being tried to see how it works here. All funding is from donations and grants; no tax money is being spent.

The immediate goal is to spay or neuter five feral cats. Statistically, that should reduce by 30 the number of homeless kittens born next spring.

That would make a significant impact in Juneau, where about 30 cats a month are adopted from the Gastineau Humane Society.

"There are more homeless cats in Juneau than there are homes for them," Lee said. "By spaying and neutering, we reduce the supply to match the demand."

The Gastineau Humane Society already offers discount certificates to cat owners who want to spay or neuter their pets.

Feral Fix is intended to further reduce overpopulation because tame and feral cats interbreed. Plans call for continuing the program for two or three years, fine-tuning it and evaluating its effectiveness here.

Those interested in Feral Fix or just in learning more about Juneau's homeless cats are invited to attend the Feral Cat Day forum or to call the Gastineau Humane Society, 789-0260.