Dozens of animals in Norman are spared from being euthanized, because of a new program to find them work.
Some of the cats that are deemed 'unadoptable' are now being placed at shops and barns battling mice problems.
Before this program began, feral cats who found themselves in shelter kennels were on a time crunch. If they couldn't calm down in five days and prove they were fit for a family home, they were at risk for euthanasia, according to Officer Jamee Lea Popenhagen with Norman Animal Welfare.
“A lot of times they were coming in the shelter and you can’t touch them, they’re aggressive, they’re trying to bite us, they’re hissing at us and for a lot of different reasons, they’re not considered adoptable at that point,” she said.
Back then, Animal Welfare Officer Jamee Lea Popenhagen had to euthanize dozens of feral cats each month, depending on the time of the year.
“That’s the hardest part of my job is knowing that I can’t do anything for that cat. Now I don’t worry about the cats anymore,” Popenhagen said.
Now, a program finds barn and shop owners, willing to take in those kinds of cats and give them a job.
Susan Whatley has ten acres in Cleveland County, where field mice were rampant. “They were just running alongside the barn – you would see them just everywhere,” Whatley said.
Within days of her barn cats' arrival, the mice and even snakes were no longer an issue.
“I love them. They’re just so sweet,” Whatley said.
Kim Fairbanks is the coordinator of the barn cat program. Fairbanks makes sure the animals are spayed and neutered and have had their vaccinations before placement.
She said so far they've saved at least 71 cats and helped barn and shop owners keep countless critters away. “This gives them an opportunity to live their life and help people with their mice or rat or snake problem,” she said.
Fairbanks said they would like to build up a wait list of barn and shop owners who would be willing to open up their properties to these cats.