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Upshur has too many cats

by Joedy McCreary


(Tuesday, July 7) There's no room for Fluffy at the inn. At least, not if that inn is the Upshur County Humane Society.

Because of an overcrowding problem at the shelter, the Humane Society is asking residents to stop dropping off stray cats and kittens, society representative Melanie Tiziani said Monday.

"We're the only place that accepts the kitties," Tiziani said. "We've got close to 15 kittens. If we could find someone to adopt them, we could get some more in.

"But I get call after call, people wanting to bring them in."

The situation has even escalated to the point where the Humane Society officials have scheduled a public meeting at 7 p.m. today at the Upshur County Shelter to discuss possible solutions.

Of course, the best answer is population control.

"We're going to try to work out something with funding so that people can get their kitties spayed and neutered," Tiziani said. "That's the only thing we can do."

The overpopulation problem has affected cats more than canines, Tiziani said.

"We get in dogs too, but we do enough adoption that we can get a good rotation," Tiziani said. "But the cat situation Ñ I tell you, it has doubled since last year. It's taken off, for what reason I don't know."

Anne Ramsey, director of the Randolph County Humane Society, faces a similar situation, finding herself practically taking reservations for cages.

"We're having to reserve cages a week or two ahead of time," Ramsey said.

The availability of funding -- or lack thereof -- has the shelters hard-pressed to take care of so many cats, Ramsey said.

"We operate by donations only," Ramsey said. "We're a hand-to-mouth operation. We live by donations, and that makes the problems worse. We can't provide spaying or neutering clinics."

The feline fluctuations aren't isolated to North Central West Virginia, said Sheila Cedores, manager of the Marion County Animal Shelter.

"It's probably state-wide," Cedores said. "There are so many feral cats in West Virginia. Not just Marion County, not just Upshur County. State-wide."

About 200 cats made their way to the Marion shelter in June. But Cedores said the shelter only has room for about 30 cats at a time.

"When the space goes down, then we have to euthanize," Cedores said.

"A lot of those were feral, and a lot were sick, which means we can't put them with the other cats."

Because of their wild nature, feral cats are unadoptable, Cedores said.

"Those are the ones that are wild," Cedores said. "We catch them in cat traps. They become feral when people let their cats breed and their kittens run around wild and they breed."