West Valley Humane Society launched the start of the community cat program on September 3rd, 2019.

This program prioritizes spaying/neutering and vaccinating all cats that come into our care and returning them back to their communities. Trap, Neuter, Return and Vaccinate (TNR+V) programs are essential to stopping the breeding cycle of community cats and helps to prevent the spread of preventable disease in our community. 

West Valley Humane Society has become a leader in our community when it comes to the care, medical intervention and behavioral modification of dogs. The shelter now aims to focus attention to the cat community to serve our County more effectively and help save as many lives as possible. 

What is the Community Cat Program?

Based on research from Best Friends Animal Society, the Humane Society of the United States and Animal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals it has been found that less than 4% of all cats that are brought to the shelter as a stray are reunited with their original owner. It is also found that cats who were not picked up or cats who are returned back to where they were found are 13 times more likely to be reunited with their families than through human intervention. 

In order to save as many cats as possible the shelter will be changing policies and procedures in regards to cat care with stray, community and feral cats. The changes in policies will aid in population control, disease control and reuniting pets with their families. Changes in procedure go as follows: 

1. The shelter will be doing educational outreach on what cats to bring into the shelter versus not bring into the shelter environment, as well as work to help cat owners through behavioral and medical concerns with their pet to help them stay in their homes.

2. Community members surrendering stray/community/feral cats will now pay a $50 surrender fee to the shelter. This fee will be waived if the community member agrees to participate in the Community Cat Program. 

3. Healthy and weight appropriate cats who are brought into shelter care will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and released back into their original community to find their way back to their original home and food source. To waive the $50 fee, community members can help return the cat back to their locations after they have been sterilized and vaccinated.

4.Cats that are surrendered without participation in the program will use the $50 fee to help pay for the medical costs of caring for the cat and is releasing the cat by a volunteer.

Community cats are a community issue and without help from Canyon County residents the shelter won’t be able to sustainably help the cat population. In 2018 West Valley Humane Society served just over 4,700 cats. With financial support from surrender fees, community support with education campaigns and volunteer help, West Valley Humane Society believes they can save a lot of lives. 

Hundreds of communities across the United States have adopted official TNR+V and community cat programs. The benefits and effectiveness of TNR+V programs and it’s mainstream approach to manage community cat programs are vast. Trap, Neuter, Return and Vaccinating cats make our community cats healthier, ends behaviors associated with mating (like yowling and roaming) and helps keep unwanted and unsterilized cats off of property. 

For any questions about the Community Cat program- reach out to West Valley Humane Society at cats@westvalleyhumanesociety.org

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