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Efforts continue to rescue and house county’s cat population

By Staff | Apr 29, 2016

Toni Milbourne

Chronicle Editor

Kabletown resident Pat McCracken continues her efforts to rescue and assist stray cats within Jefferson County and beyond. Reaching from her own development of Avon Bend, McCracken rescues from the mountain communities to Shepherdstown and is now venturing into neighboring counties who seek her help.

McCracken’s efforts have helped to treat, vaccinate and spay and neuter hundreds of cats over the years. After treating the animals and making sure they are socialized, she works to find them homes if a return to their place of entrapment is not a viable return site.

“Sometimes people can feed and house them, but can’t afford to have them vaccinated or fixed,” McCracken said last week. “That’s where I come in to help them and then return the cat to them.”

Many of the cats are not so lucky to have a place to which they can return. Those cats, McCracken says, need homes. But, there are often not enough homes to be found.

Many of the cats McCracken rescues are wild and may not be suitable for indoor family living. Their ideal home would be a farm, and McCracken has several farmers who welcome new additions; however, there are simply not enough spots. She is currently searching for additional farms that would be willing to offer homes to these cats.

McCracken has shared, “I don’t think people understand how hard it is to find homes.” When speaking of a hope for farmsteads to offer housing, she said that the cats simply need some shelter and someone who is willing to feed and water them.

“They don’t need to be indoor cats,” she said. And, before the cats travel to a new home, they are spayed or neutered so they don’t breed, producing a new generation of homeless cats.

“And if the home doesn’t work out, I will take them back and find them a new home,” McCracken said.

Currently McCracken is seeking homes for more than 20 cats. The spring season sees an explosion in the cat population, she indicated, which makes her task even more difficult.

McCracken has been an animal rescue advocate in the area for about five years. She has developed an outreach with others who help feed and trap cats throughout the area. She then works with local veterinarians to address health issues and make the cats ready for homes.

McCracken said, trapping these cats and having the females spayed will help eliminate additional litters in the future. She has been able to trap, secure the treatments, provide “foster” housing through a recuperation period after surgery and then release the animals, sometimes back where they were found and sometimes at farms or other locations. But it is getting more and more difficult to keep up with the demand, she said.

“The problem is increasing,” she said. She went on to explain that the financial, physical and emotional drain is often overwhelming.

“I can’t do it alone,” she said.

She encourages individuals to have their cats spayed or neutered; and if they need assistance, there are organizations to help.

“If nothing else, take them to a shelter,” she said, rather than simply leaving them loose. While Briggs and Jefferson County’s Animal Welfare are often “full” and won’t take additional cats, McCracken said that Berkeley County’s shelter will take them and make every effort to adopt them out.

Those who have questions about how to secure a lower cost spay or neutering may contact McCracken preferably via text message at 304-264-1618.

Those who are able and willing to assist with covering costs of care of these cats may contribute as they are able and any financial assistance would be greatly appreciated, McCracken said.

More importantly, any local farmer who has room for some farm cats are encouraged to contact her. Those wishing to adopt one of the kittens “fostering” with McCracken may also call.