Black Dog Animal Rescue [BDAR] says Cheyenne has a "cat crisis" because way too many cats are being abandoned or left at shelters in the area.

In a Tuesday news release, BDAR  Executive Director Britanny Wallesch says:

''because the volume of unwanted cats in this community is overwhelming. It’s an epidemic and no one seems to be talking about it. Just this week, we transferred in 14 cats from the animal shelter, and though that number stretched our organization’s capacity to its limits, it was barely a drop in the bucket as we were told that they were currently caring for more than 160 others. That same day, we counted, we received calls or emails for 47 other cats in the community whose owners were either unable or unwilling to keep them or for found litters of kittens. In case you lost count already, that’s  221 cats total in this community in one day - and those are just the ones we know about. ''

She offers the following suggestions to help stem the problem:

  • Spay and neuter your cats. There is no reason not to do this. If you can’t afford to have it done but want a cat, get a free one from any local adoption agency.
  • Do not take kittens from Facebook posts, craigslist, your co-worker, neighbors, etc. Often, people think that as long as their kittens find homes, they aren’t contributing to the problem. They are. And you are helping them contribute by making it easy for them.
  • Do not allow your cats to roam outside if they aren’t fixed. If you have a female, she is guaranteed to get pregnant. If you have a male, he’s making new babies all over your neighborhood. Just stop it, please.
  • Do not pick up and remove seemingly stray cats from their home territory. Cats who are social enough to allow you to approach and pick them up are used to people and therefore likely to have a nearby caregiver. Nationally, reclaim rates (meaning the percentage of cats who are picked up by their owners after they go the shelter), are less than 10%. There are many reasons for this, but it’s safe to say that those cats are better off left where they are.
  • Do not remove young kittens from a nest. Mother cats often leave their young to hunt and forage for food. If you find a group of young kittens (eyes closed or only just beginning to open, not really walking around or exploring, still largely scooting on their bellies), observe from a nearby and out of site location for several hours. It is always best to leave the babies for their mom to care for. Once the kittens begin to walk around and explore the area outside of their nest, you can then attempt to trap or capture them. Kittens who are at least four weeks old are more likely to survive without their mother and can still be habituated to people well enough to be adopted later.
  • Keep the cats you have. When you brought that cat home you made a commitment, and that commitment is now your life-long responsibility. If you surrender that cat or abandon it outside and it dies somewhere else down the line, that’s on you and no one else.
  • If you are having trouble with behavior problems, consult a veterinarian. Most feline behavior problems are a result of treatable medical conditions.
  • Donate money to help care for unwanted and homeless cats, and to help provide for needed additional community services. Not sure you trust what will happen with that money? Offer to pay to have your friend’s, or neighbor’s, or co-worker’s cat fixed instead.
  • Volunteer to foster young kittens. Be prepared for a lot of heartache and a lot of reward.
  • BDAR currently has a number of cats available for free adoption.