The Freeholder Board recently introduced a Community Cat Ordinance to serve as a model for municipalities dealing with the challenge of stray and feral cats.
“The Community Cat Ordinance is based on the principles of trap, neuter and return (TNR), which we feel is the most effective method of managing the stray and feral cat population,” said Freeholder Jeff Nash. “TNR is a non-lethal population control technique utilized to humanely capture, vaccinate, identify and spay or neuter cats.”
The long-term goal of the County Community Cat Ordinance is to reduce the growth of stray and feral cat populations, stop the spread of diseases and reduce the numbers of feral cats through natural attrition. This plan will lessen their impact on the region’s ecology and reduce costs for our municipalities.
“Cats are domestic animals that are better suited to living in a home that provides shelter, a nutritious diet, appropriate exercise and protection from other animals,” Nash said. “Stray kittens and cats that are tame enough to be socialized can then be adopted by local families.”
Adult cats that cannot be socialized are returned to where they were trapped. With proper management and oversight, they can live out their lives under the supervision of a community cat caregiver. Cats will need to be periodically re-trapped to update their vaccinations and receive medical care.
“These cats can be found in industrial areas, open spaces and neighborhoods. While some find their way into homes and shelters, many of them are left to fend for themselves or are cared for by concerned citizens,” Nash said.
It is estimated that there are somewhere between 1.3 and 2 million stray and cats in New Jersey. It is also estimated that there are more than 123,000 cats in Camden County, and between as many as 20 percent of those are considered stray or feral.
In the United States, only about two percent of the 30 to 40 million stray cats have been spayed or neutered. These cats produce around 80 percent of the kittens born each year.
“Shelters in communities with a large population of outdoor cats that aren’t spayed or neutered experience numerous challenges and increased costs associated with their care,” Nash said. “In areas without this program, there are unfortunately higher euthanasia rates among cats that are unable to be domesticated and adopted.”
To adopt a pet, please visit the Camden County Animal Shelter, located at 125 County House Road, Blackwood, NJ 08012. For more information, visit www.ccasnj.org or call 856-401-1300 for adoption hours.