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

In November, Halli Holmgren hiked 11 miles to Kalalau with a pet carrier (provided by Judy Dalton, of Kaua‘i Community Cat Project) attached to the top of her backpack, with the intention of bringing a kitten back to be adopted by somebody else. She brought back Kukui, and he was already adopted by a family on Kaua‘i.

In November, Halli Holmgren hiked 11 miles to Kalalau with a pet carrier (provided by Judy Dalton, of Kaua‘i Community Cat Project) attached to the top of her backpack, with the intention of bringing a kitten back to be adopted by somebody else. She brought back Kukui, and he was already adopted by a family on Kaua‘i.

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.