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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Mattfield

Under the Drop Trap: Meet our Feral Fixers!

We caught up with Nicole, one of our youngest Feral Fixers. It's hard to catch her between catching cats, but she made some time to answer our interview questions. As we suspected, it didn't take an OPRA request to find out that compassion drives her action!

All photos courtesy of Nicole

What motivated you to start caring for cats outside?

N: I’ve always had a love for animals, with an extra soft spot for cats, and when my family and I saw them outside, we knew had to give them food and water, which gave them a small safe space to relax and not be fearful.

How did you get involved in Trap Neuter Return?

N: I’ve known about TNR for a few years, but nothing was ever available in my area, or it was too expensive to pay. One cat here and there is affordable, but 20 plus cats is not something I can pay for, so I was on the internet looking for help again and came across the Whiskers website, which led me straight to the Feral Fix Program. I contacted them immediately, and within the hour I was speaking to the person who would help me begin this lifesaving process.

What is your favorite kind of trap?

N: The traps that I believe work the best are the drop traps because they’re less scary for the cats.

What is your biggest challenge to getting all of the cats fixed in your area?

N: The biggest challenge is cooperation from the neighbors and city. The cats traverse various properties and public plots, so trapping them all in one backyard is a very difficult and a practically impossible task.

How do your neighbors feel about TNR?

N: My neighbors think it’s a great idea but are not willing to go the extra step to attempt to trap themselves. One of my neighbors trapped for animal control a few years ago, but has not done so again, and no longer wants to be involved in trapping and caring.

Why do you think there are so many cats outside?

N: Originally, there were none, but one day a mother cat dropped off her three girl kittens. At that time, there was nothing we could really do to help them, this was many years ago, and so we started feeding them to help them grow and stay healthy. We personally have a house cat, so we have immense affection for all cats and started caring for them with food and water. However, we did not know that a neighbor was letting their indoor unneutered male cat out, and after a few months, we had three litters of kittens from those three original girls. As you can imagine, the colony only grew from there. Along the years, we gave them occasional vet care for the friendlier/sickly ones, and found homes for many of them, but there are too many.

Have you ever tried to get help from your town or animal control?

N: I’ve tried for years to get help, originally with friends, but then with the city.

Did they help?

N: Animal control took in few cats, but when we learned that our town is a kill shelter, and that those cats weren’t going to be saved, I stopped going to them for help. However, one of my neighbors continued to do so, until Animal Control themselves refused to come and help more, stating that my neighbor had given them too many animals already. Through the vet, I discovered a kitten foster mom who took in some kittens, but she and her acquaintances were overwhelmed with the number of cats and couldn’t help me anymore. As of right now, there is no assistance whatsoever for these animals from my city.

How did you hear about the 50 Feral Fix Program?

N: Through an extensive google search and hours of previous researching on TNR programs.

Yikes! Sounds like we need to improve our search tags! Glad you persisted and found us! What do you find helpful about the program?

N: Everything is helpful about the program, from the waivers to pay for the procedures, that are a saving grace, to the amazing traps lent to me, to the education and information taught to me, and to the support I receive from Whiskers. I would not be able to trap and stop the cycle of feral cats if not for this program.

::Blushing:: What would make it more helpful?

N: The biggest help would be state funding to help stop the overwhelming amount of stray cats humanely, without ending their lives. If the state were to provide financial assistance, such as vouchers, or get veterinarians to work specifically with TNR, it would help every single community in NJ.

We agree wholeheartedly with you, Nicole! You are an inspiration and your story is a testament to the fact that any feeder with compassion can become a caretaker that controls the population of cats in their yard.

Want to help more people become caretakers like Nicole? We need your help to keep this program going. Cats are waiting as we raise funds to provide lifesaving veterinary care through the 50 Feral Fix program.


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