Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society helping with outdoor cat overpopulation

In the last two years, they have already treated around 1,200 of the estimated 14,000 outdoor cats in our region.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 6:47 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The Community Cat Program at the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society, also known as Trap-Neuter-Release, is helping to keep free-roaming cats in the community healthy while reducing their population.

In the last two years, they have already treated around 1,200 of the estimated 14,000 outdoor cats in our region.

The program targets the problem of cat overpopulation at its source. Previously, euthanasia or “culling” was used to control colonies of outdoor cats. However, since cats reproduce quickly, it barely had an impact on the number of free-roaming cats in the area.

TNR is a humane way of reducing the amount of outdoor and community cats.

“The Community Cat Program was created to provide a humane long-term solution to the problems that can come about from an overpopulation of free-roaming cats in a community,” said Community Cat Program Coordinator, Emily Cothran.

The team seeks out these cats to alter, vaccinate, and ear-tip (indicating that a cat has been through the program), and return them to the areas where they’ve already been living and thriving. This will prevent generations of cats from being born into the community.

“They are cats that enjoy living outside and they won’t acclimate well to indoors. We want to work with those cats in a way that keeps them comfortable, gives them the best quality of life, and allows them to live out their natural lifespan in what we consider to be their home,” said Cothran.

Returning cats to the area from which they were trapped also makes sure that new cats don’t move into that territory to take advantage of the resources found there.

“A colony of free-roaming cats is actually anchored by a feeder or a small group of feeders. We want to take it one step further and offer that free veterinary care,” said Cothran.

The Community Cat Program and TNR effort started at BGWCHS in 2019. It has evolved from solely providing traps to community members to TNR their own neighborhood cats. The program is guided by BGWCHS staff that work in coordination with animal control and the Warren County and Bowling Green City governments.