August 18, 2014 08:53PM
By Lauren Sievert
SOUTHINGTON — When Lisa Karwowski was out to dinner in town one night, she noticed a cat walking by. Curious, she followed it to a feral cat colony. Now she’s spearheading an effort to help the cats.
Karwowski, who has experience with rescue animals, said the colony has about 10 feral cats. She uses a “trap, neuter and release” approach to help. Cats are trapped, taken to be spayed or neutered and then released back to the colony.
Without being able to reproduce, the cats live out their lives and the feral community eventually dies out naturally. Karwowski said this method is more humane than euthanizing the animals.
“There are a tons of (feral cats) out there,” Karwowski said. “The best thing is to help them in that location.”
Karwowski said the colony had a few kittens and one of the cats was pregnant. The kittens are being fostered while Karwowski searches for permanent homes.
She runs a pet sitting business, For Paw’s Sake, and is hoping to start a nonprofit animal rescue.
Karwowski takes the feral cats to Hope Clinic in Plantsville. They provide the spay or neuter, distemper and rabies vaccine at an affordable rate. They also mark the cat’s ears so future rescues know they’ve been taken care of, Karwowski said.
Alicia Wright, public relations director of the Connecticut Humane Society, said currently they don’t accept feral cats.
“Our staff isn’t trained to handle a feral cat program,” Wright said.
Wright said trap, neuter and release is considered the most humane way to handle feral cats, and the program is up for consideration by the Humane Society.
Southington Animal Control Officer Dave Ireland said feral cat communities are a big problem everywhere, not just Southington. He is not sure how to solve the problem. Animal control does not pick up stray cats.
“They are trying to make a bad problem better,” Ireland said of people who help feral cats.
Karwowski has begun posting information on feral colonies on social media. Karwowski said food costs a lot. She is also working on winter shelters for the cats. Karwowski said occasionally she gets feedback from people who don’t want the feral cats in their neighborhood and would rather see them euthanized.
Anyone wanting to donate to the feral cat community Karwowski cares for can contact her through firstname.lastname@example.org.