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New era for cats in Madera County

A litter of kittens found in Madera is in foster care and will be available for adoption in a few weeks. (D.J. Becker)


Historically, animal shelters have admitted more healthy cats than could be placed in adoptive homes. The result has been chronically overcrowded shelters and the deaths of millions of cats. This practice has been going on for decades and the cat population problem has only increased.

New research and innovative programs suggest there are humane and cost-effective alternatives. Managed intake, spay/neuter return (TNR) programs, and more economical opportunities for spay/neuter of all cats, are strategies that can eliminate both shelter over-crowding and the euthanasia of healthy cats.

Community cats are “un-owned” cats. They may be “feral” (un-socialized) or friendly, they may be born wild, lost, or abandoned.

Home is within the community rather than in an individual household. The cats have found the essentials including food, water, and shelter to survive and reproduce.

Madera County Animal Services has accepted these innovative programs as “Best Practices”, to reduce cat populations in the community.

The Animal Shelter is filled beyond capacity with cats and kittens. Increases in the cat population have created challenges for the staff and volunteers that work tirelessly to make sure the cats have a positive outcome. Residents can assist the cats, the animal shelter and their communities by taking a proactive approach to stem the tide of homeless cats.

Recommendations for Madera County residents:

  1. Spay/neuter feral (untamed) community cats. Trap, neuter, and return the cat to the colony where it came from.*

  2. Spay/neuter tame community cats! Return cats to the area or colony where they were trapped or captured. **

  3. Spay/neuter owned cats! **

Eastern Madera County SPCA also has 50 percent-off vouchers available for mountain residents that want to have a mountain veterinarian do the surgeries. Call 683-1266.

Contact your own veterinarian on the health advantages for your pet and community benefits by spaying or neutering your pets.

Cats are great for rodent control and make great companions. It is not their fault that they are feral or without owners. Help Animal Services, help your community, and help the cats and kittens in our county by spaying or neutering.

If you have questions for Madera County Animal Shelter staff, call 675-7891.


*Free spay/neuter vouchers are available from Friends of Madera Animal Shelter available for feral (untamed) cats. Traps are also available with a deposit. Call 363-5106 for more information. ** Low Income Spay/Neuter Vouchers are available from Friends of Madera Animal Shelter (a low-income based program, proof of low income required). Call 363-5106 for more information.


Kirsten Gross is executive director of the Madera County Animal Services Department.

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