Animal Humane, Animal Welfare seeing fewer cats and kittens coming into shelters

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In just days, furry felines will take center stage at the Feline Film Festival.
There are typically dozens of kittens on hand to be adopted, but officials say this year they’re not seeing as many cats and kittens because of one program in particular.

The Feline Film Festival helps to get kittens adopted, but Animal Humane officials say their Trap/Neuter/Return program is working so well that they’re seeing 75 percent fewer kittens coming into their shelter since the program began in 2008.

Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) is a program where feral or free-roaming cats are brought into the shelter, sterilized and medically treated, and returned to where they originally came from.

“To date since 2008, we have sterilized vaccinated and medically evaluated almost 13,000 cats,” Val Wilson, a Clinic Manager at Animal Humane, said.

While officials say it’s great for keeping cats on the streets safe and the population down, Animal Humane says there may be less at the Feline Film Festival because they’re seeing fewer cats and kittens coming into their shelters overall.

“Cats are needed because we have a special sponsorship called ‘Kitten Therapy.’ And people can go inside kind of a guarded area blocked off and play with kittens,” said Christina Theis, Marketing Director, Animal Humane.

The City of Albuquerque’s Animal Welfare Department Director Paul Caster says they’ve also seen a decline because of the TNR program. Caster says just last year there were nearly 500 cats in the shelter. Today there’s 205.

“It’s been hugely successful. It’s helped the cat population. It’s helped public safety. It’s just good for everybody,” said Caster.

However, some are opposed to the trap neuter return program. Officials with the American Bird Conservancy say TNR doesn’t prevent the spread of diseases and is harmful to native wildlife.

Saturday’s Feline Film Festival will feature films about cats made by people here in Albuquerque.

“From the first year to now, we’ve seen some great strides in new cinematography which is great because all of these people love their cats. Some of them don’t have cats in them but they are cat themed. Just having people have the opportunity to express how much they love their felines, everybody gets to enjoy that,” said Theis.

Kittens at the Feline Film Festival will be up for adoption. Tickets are $15.

For more information on the Festival, click here.

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