Osceola County has a community cat problem, which means we have a large number of free roaming, intact and unvaccinated cats. Each year, particularly in the spring and summer, residents turn in to the shelter hundreds of kittens that are born to these community cats. These cats may be stray, feral, or owned.

Thanks to our robust foster care program, more kittens were saved in 2017 than in any previous year, but we are bracing for another very active kitten season this year.  New foster homes are always needed and appreciated. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or volunteer in some other way, please click here.

Being a foster parent is a tremendous help; but even with those great resources, it isn’t enough. We have to take steps to reduce the number of cats/kittens in our community which will result in enhanced public health and reduced animal suffering and euthanasia.

The Problem:

  • Every intact (not spayed) female cat can produce up to three litters per year; about 100 kittens in her lifetime.

  • This large population of cats can pose problems for people in our community including spraying, fighting, yowling, urination and defecation on private property, and more.

  • These uncontrolled populations also lead to horrible suffering and death for the animals. Only one in four of a litter are expected to survive in these populations. The others are killed by predation, exposure to the elements, disease, and starvation.

  • Each of those female kittens can reproduce at the same rate once they reach about six months of age. One male cat can impregnate an unlimited number of females. It is easy to see how the population can get out of control very quickly.

  • Unvaccinated animals, dogs and cats, are susceptible to rabies and other deadly and painful diseases.

  • It is estimated that Osceola County alone has between 50,000 and 60,000 community cats at this time.

  • The video on the right helps to illustrate the issues.

 

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In response to this huge animal welfare and public health concern, Osceola County Animal Services has received a grant from the Best Friends Animal Society to develop and implement a progressive community cat program. The program will have many components but will include:

Written information about how to humanely and effectively deal with community cat issues;

  1. Best Friends Animal Society will be hiring two staff members to work out of the Osceola County Animal Shelter;

  2. Deterrents that can be used to keep cats off of and out of certain areas where they are not welcomed;

  3. Assistance with Trap, Neuter and Return. Rather than impounding and killing these cats, which has been the common practice in the past, the cats will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated against rabies and common viruses, ear tipped, and returned to the location where they were found.

  4. Training and resources for cat caregivers to help ensure that feeding areas are kept clean, animals are fed what they need, feeding stations are established, and every effort is made to keep cats on properties where they are welcome.

We are also partnering with the SNiP-it (spay/neuter is prevention) clinic and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando on this undertaking. They will be performing many of the spays/neuters associated with this program. Our goal is to spay/neuter 2,500 cats for each of the three years of the grant. This is in addition to the number of cats that are already being spayed/neutered each year.