A group of concerned Mt. Pleasant citizens hoping to start a program to solve the city’s stray cat problem have agreed on a name, time and place for the meeting. One of the leaders of the group invites anyone interested to join and participate.
Beginning Monday, the Central Cat Coalition will meet bi-weekly from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Library Annex building at 301 S. University Ave., south of downtown.
The group’s goal is to establish a trap, neuter and release program to “end cat homelessness, suffering and euthanasia,” according to the group’s new Facebook page.
Many of the group’s early members found themselves volunteering at the Karma Kat Cafe, 612 E. Broadway.
“(Karma Kat Owner) Mystie Beckwith works very closely with community members who care for community cats, so people are reaching out to her and asking what they can do to make a contribution,” said Desiree Bigard, President of the Central Cat Coalition. “So she brought us together, but most of the people involved are volunteers at both the Karma Kat Cafe and HATS. So there was a lot of overlap and some of us already knew each other.”
Bigard said six cats live permanently in her home, and she currently cares for three more. She has also volunteered for the Humane Animal Treatment Society and in that capacity has seen a significant amount of concern for the city’s community cats.
The cats have formed a number of well-known colonies. One is centered around a house on Arnold Street just north of Broadway. Another is on Pine Street between Illinois and Locust streets, and another is at Bradley Trailer Park.
The goal of CCC is to create a TNR program that will capture unrestrained cats, spay/neuter them, give them their vaccinations and return them to their place of residence. While some of the cats in the communities allow some human contact, others are completely feral and avoid human contact.
One topic on Monday’s agenda is how to raise money as quickly as possible to get the program up and running.
The cat breeding season usually lasts from around March to October, and a female cat can give birth to a litter and become pregnant the next day. The gestation period for a litter of kittens is approximately 63 days.