A note from Barbara Bennett, Owner and Publisher of For Kaua‘i: The following is a letter in response from my editorial column last month, titled “What Are We Going to Do with Kaua‘i’s Feral Cats?”
By Basil Scott, KCCP President
Kaua‘i Community Cat Project is a small nonprofit supporting trap-neuter-return and cat rescue. TNR is a way to reduce cat populations in areas outside of sensitive wildlife habitats. KCCP also rescues adoptable cats and kittens that have been abandoned or born outdoors.
After years of increasing activity, KCCP’s Board of Directors had planned for a steady year in 2016. The board thought KCCP was near its max and that this would be a year focused on solidifying funding and improving efficiency.
That’s not what happened!
Instead, 2016 was the biggest year ever. The growth in numbers of cats helped was over 30 percent compared to 2015. This was after three years of 20 percent-plus growth. We are on pace for helping almost 900 cats in 2016. Now, our long-term goal of helping 1,000 cats per year seems achievable in 2017.
The effect of TNR is cumulative. Each TNR project creates a tiny island of declining homeless cat population. Over time, more and more of these exist. As these “islands” increasingly connect together, Kaua‘i will reach a tipping point where the island-wide population of stray and homeless cats will decrease at 10 to 15 percent per year.
TNR is already reducing the homeless cat population and cat impacts more than all (lethal) cat removal activities combined, including those by state and federal agencies and by the Kaua‘i Humane Society. If you’re curious about how and why TNR is better, visit KCCP website (kauaicats.org) for more information.
KCCP also had a banner year for rescuing and adopting cats. This year we’ll adopt over 300, which is a 100 percent increase over 2015. About one third of these cats travelled to the Mainland as part of our Wings for Whiskers program. Tourists adopted others while they visited here and then took them home — KCCP helps cat lovers like this with all the details. We tell tourists that a cat or kitten is the best Kaua‘i memento they can have! But most rescued cats were adopted right here on Kaua‘i.
To put these adoption numbers in perspective, Kaua‘i Humane Society, with a total budget that’s about 20 times larger than KCCP’s, has adopted just over 300 cats for each of the last three years. KCCP projects 310 adoptions for 2016.
All of this is good news, but we have a long way to go. This year, we’ve worked with hundreds of people. But, there were too many times when we couldn’t help because we were limited by available funds and volunteers.
Our business model is different. We are not a government agency that you call, and we show up and take care of the cats. Instead, KCCP helps people take responsibility directly. We don’t do it for you; we help you do it. We provide support with advice, by helping financially, or by loaning traps. We’ll show you how to trap. We believe that enlisting the community in the effort is the only way to solve the problem of too many homeless cats.
I hope everyone reading this will consider helping us by volunteering or sending a donation. Or, if you see a situation with too many cats, that you’ll consider calling us and helping to address the issue. You can sign up to volunteer or send a donation at www.kauaicommunitycats.org
- Basil Scott is the president of Kaua‘i Community Cat Project, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org