Behind restaurants, in shopping areas with dumpsters, and “anywhere there’s a food source” thousands of community cats are reproducing uncontrollably in Comal County.
Bulverde-based Animal Rescue Connections’ (ARC) small cadre of dedicated volunteers is trying to do something about the situation, which overwhelms many businesses and especially well-meaning individuals who feed a few neighborhood cats who have kittens that turn into cats that have more kittens.
Most days ARC volunteers can be found trapping community cats and then driving them to vets to be spayed/neutered, de-wormed, vaccinated, and treated for any other medical conditions.
After allowing the cats to recover for two to three days, they lug them in their heavy traps back to the animals’ original locations and release them. Because these cats are territorial, they’ll keep other feline interlopers out.
Over time, large colonies like the ones plaguing Comal County will dwindle in size thanks to this technique, best known as trap-neuter-return (TNR).
In 2017, the Comal County Commissioners Court endorsed TNR and commended organizations like ARC that spearhead these programs.
ARC President Jenny Burgess hopes donors who plan to participate in the online, 24-hour Big Give San Antonio from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, will consider donating to the nonprofit organization so it can continue to provide this community service.
“The money that comes in helps float us through the year,” she said.
To donate, click here.
ARC has little overhead because it’s run by volunteers who work out of their homes — every penny is spent on feeding colonies and on veterinary bills.
Two years ago, Burgess said ARC was able to use grant funds to help tackle cat overpopulation in Spring Branch’s Indian Hills subdivision.
“Somebody has to step up,” she said. “There are many times when we’ve got cats in locations where nobody’s taking care of them at all…the problem keeps on getting worse if nothing’s done.”
ARC also consults with homeowners who need help learning to trap cats — and provides advice and information on its website — but focuses on helping the larger community.
“It’s not just the animals we’re helping,” Burgess said. “Keeping cat numbers controlled is better for residents, our neighborhoods and the environment.”