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C2005-10

Dear Christopher Cat

About a dozen cats hang around my barn. Last year, we had half that many.

I’d like to stabilize the population by having them spayed and neutered, but the cost is more than I can handle. What should I do?

Christopher Responds

I understand your predicament because I was born at a barn like yours.

To halt your feline population growth, contact your local animal shelter to find a low-cost spay-neuter program.

Most progressive shelters are beginning to develop programs to address the overpopulation of free-roaming cats, including feral cats.

If your shelter doesn’t have one, the staff may be able to direct you to a local volunteer-run organization that provides low-cost spay-neuter services.

The high reproductive capacity of free-roaming cats was documented in a report published recently by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Researchers who monitored cats in managed colonies learned that most pregnancies occurred during March, April and May.

Each female produced about three kittens per litter and, on average, 1.4 litters per year.

One-fourth of the kittens survived to an age when they could reproduce – which means the population doubled in one year.

Prevent a population explosion at your farm by having your cats spayed and neutered now.

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