OKC Shelter Starts Program To Catch, Release Stray Cats

Tuesday, January 3rd 2012, 8:12 pm
By: News 9

Jamie Oberg, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Like everywhere else in the country, Oklahoma City has plenty of stray cats running around. But a new plan by the city means once the cats are brought into a shelter, they'll be going right back to the streets.

The plan is not working yet, because the city says it doesn't have all the funding. But it's a catch and release ordinance for stray cats.

The Oklahoma City Animal Control hopes to start catching cats in our neighborhoods, fixing them and re-releasing them, starting next month.

Mary and Bill Sadler found three kittens at Olive Garden on Memorial and brought them to the shelter in hopes they will be adopted.

"What we're going to do is keep them here for three days and they're pretty young, we're going to try and find them fosters," a shelter worker told them.

After three days, most stray cats are euthanized at the city animal shelter, Jon Gary said. But starting next month, they'll be spayed, neutered, and returned back to where they came from.

Mary isn't sold on the idea.

"No, because they won't get fed, they'll get hit by cars, and if there's stray dogs out there, bad idea," she said.

Jon Gary with the shelter says the alternative is death for kittens like the ones the couple brought in.

That's why the shelter is trying to start a catch, fix and release program. Gary says they're still working on where to get the $35 to $45 to spay or neuter healthy strays that come in. It is something the city is working on with the Humane Society.

"Very few get back to their owners, so we feel like with this program more cats will go back to their owners than what we've seen before," he said.

More than 10,000 cats came here last year, and only 100 went back to their owners. Gary says some owner came to reclaim the cats but they were too late.

"The alternate is euthanasia. I think if you ask the cat, it'd rather go back to chance of survival," Gary said.

The shelter says they receive or catch thousands of "community cats" which people are feeding, rather than killing them. They will be able to re-release them to fend for themselves.

The council approved the plan last year. The city animal shelter says this same plan has been a success at shelters across the U.S.