Trap-Neuter-Release helps 400th Cedar Key cat

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By Kellie Parkin

In cooperation with the River City Community Animal Hospital based in Jacksonville, the Williston group Sheltering Hands and the Town of Otter Creek, the Cedar Key Trap Neuter Release program reached a milestone last week: the 400th cat to get neutered. A total of 29 cats were spayed or neutered in the week long process, including 14 felines from Cedar Key and 15 from Otter Creek.


Doreen and Oliver Bauer head up the Cedar Key program. They started it in October 2006 when they looked around the community and saw many kittens without homes. “It’s easy to say ‘let someone else deal with it,’” Oliver said. “But we felt horrible about it.”

Combining efforts with the other entities has made it possible for Cedar Key TNR to help hundreds of cats from the island community. On Saturday, the 406th cat was returned to the Keys, an achievement that caps more than two years of hard work.

“We’re on target” Doreen said. “We originally estimated 400 to 500 cats, and we think we have another hundred or so.”

One doctor and two technicians from River City Community Animal Hospital in Jacksonville performed the procedures in a state-of-the-art mobile veterinarian office parked outside the Otter Creek town hall where the cats were sheltered. The procedure costs anywhere from $35 to $45 for each cat. A rabies vaccination and a multi-shot are included.

“This isn’t only for feral cats,” Oliver said. “We can help house cats through this program as well.” Owners are responsible for the cost, but benefit from the program’s discounted rates. “They pay the same as we would,” he said.

Kathy Fleck, President of Sheltering Hands, and four other volunteers from the Williston non-profit supported the effort, making sure the cats are well cared for and comfortable.

“We provide the traps and use town hall,” Fleck said. “The cats are nice and cozy.”

Rose Severino, Otter Creek Town Clerk, was on hand helping with the 29 cats that made town hall their temporary home. The Town of Otter Creek has been instrumental in the program, opening its doors and housing the cats for nearly a week at a time, said Fleck.

Using special cages, the cats were trapped on Monday and Tuesday, and the surgery was performed on Thursday. The cats were then returned to their homes or homeless areas on Saturday. To avoid re-trapping, each cat’s ear is nipped to show that it has been through the procedure.

“In order to come up with the money we have yard sales and raffles.” Doreen said.

The 400th Catstravaganza raffle prizes included 3 gift baskets, each filled with more than $100 of Avon products.

One hundred percent of the Cedar Key TNR funds goes directly to the program to pay for vet services or to buy trap cages and food. The Bauers work strictly as volunteers. Gas costs and other expenses come out of their own pockets.

“Every penny of it goes straight to the program,” Oliver said. “Checks are always written directly to a 501c3, so it’s tax deductible, too.”

The Cedar Key TNR provides another service for feral cats and the people who feed them. Twenty-five pound bags of high quality vet-formula cat food are available to purchase for $10.

“If we’re going to go through the trouble of getting them spayed or neutered, we might as well make sure they’re well fed,” Doreen said.

If there are cats in your neighborhood that could benefit from the Trap-Neuter-Release program, or you would like to volunteer or donate, call 543-8083 for more information.

“We’re never going to get them all,” Doreen said. “But we can try. And the only way we know where to look is if people call us.”

A note from the Cedar Key TNR

Our February 19th Catsravaganza was a purrrfect success. The weather got off to a rocky start and delayed our yard sale but the hit of our raffle ticket sales made up for it with $225 intake being put towards our March 19th TNR day being held in Otter Creek and sponsored by the Otter Creek Town Hall, Faraway Inn of Cedar Key, Sheltering Hands of Williston and River City Community Animal Hospital out of Jacksonville.

Raffle tickets were picked out of a large fish bowl by Leslie Hinson, Treasurer of Sheltering Hands and Marilyn and Mike Jung long time visitors to Cedar Key who stopped by to check us out. Our three lucky $100 basket winners are Julie Toutges of Milwaukee WI, Wayne Fouts of Old Town and Rose Severino of Otter Creek. Congratulations Lucky Winners!

Due to the great success of our raffle ticket sales we will be offering more great baskets for raffle soon. So watch out. Keep your eyes on the Cedar Key Beacon. Don’t miss your opportunity to purchase tickets for future gift baskets!