DAN CEARNS, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The City of Kawartha Lakes is taking action to try to control the populations of stray and feral cats in the municipality.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting, on Tuesday, June 7th, councillors voted to set up a two-year pilot project, starting in 2023, to deal with this issue.

“A pilot program would provide direct guided support to trapping, and TNRM (Trap, Neuter, Release, Maintain) programs, [and] provide kennel and recovery space for cats trapped and/or recovering after neuter/spay surgery. The TNRM program, when implemented as part of the 2023 Pound Services Agreement, could be used to support the Kawartha Lakes Community Cats TNRM group and/or other similar organizations, which will collect data on known cat colonies, colony locations, impounded cats, estimated cat population numbers, establish public training and education for individuals who wish to volunteer, [and] establish low-cost local spay and neuter clinics for stray, feral cats as part of their TNRM programs,” a report from Municipal Law Enforcement and Licensing Manager Aaron Sloan stated.

When the discussion was held on the report, Mr. Sloan told councillors the issue of stray and feral cats has “been discussed a number of ways and times since 2006.”

“We have researched the topic and pursued conversations for many years, but over the last couple of years specifically, we have worked and discussed the issue of stray and feral cats with TNR groups, with the Humane Society and some colony caretakers and members of the public,” Mr. Sloan added.

Earlier in the meeting, councillors heard from a couple of delegates, who stated their approval of TNRM programs.

“Bobcaygeon Friends of Ferals, now closed, is proof that TNR works. Bobcaygeon and Fenelon Falls have seen a reduction of strays and feral [cats] through attrition, since their first spay in 2014, having helped almost one thousand cats and kittens,” Janice Jones-Skinner said.

Martin Field explained, partnerships between municipalities and “recognized local rescue groups and organizations have proven to be a success, resulting in a notable decrease of the feral cat population, [which] had previously plagued these communities for many years, if not decades.”

As the decision was made at a Committee of the Whole meeting, the motion still needs to be ratified at a council meeting later this month.