The end of Planned Feralhood's trap and return efforts

08/02/2018

It is with great sadness that I must announce that Planned Feralhood will no longer be able to offer the service of our trap, neuter, return, feed and monitor program for feral cats. Nor will it be able to provide a foster and adoption program for kittens. 

I have provided these services to the West Marin community, primarily around Point Reyes Station, free of charge and on a voluntary basis for the last 16 years. I succeeded in bringing an explosion of feral cat colonies in 2002 to a zero population in 2017. This was achieved through the constant monitoring of cat movement in our community and the immediate response of trapping any new cats and kittens that appeared, neutering them and getting them adopted or safely placed. Every year I have tended to several new cat and kitten appearances, and kept the feral cat population at zero. 

Sadly, last October a business owner in Point Reyes Station started a new colony of un-neutered cats when a female brought onto the property from the outside had kittens. The  business owner refused the free services of Planned Feralhood to spay, neuter and vaccinate the group, and ignored the information I provided on how these cats would proliferate, move out into town, and lead to a new feral cat population explosion in a matter of months. Now those kittens are having kittens, and reports are coming in that they are spreading throughout town. 

At the same time, Planned Feralhood and I were sued for taking back an adopted cat that had suffered abuse and neglect. The suit was very taxing. 

I have been alone in this work for the last 10 years. Over the course of the 16 years Planned Feralhood has been in operation, I built a sanctuary for cats I encountered along the way, cats that had no other options. They are special needs, elderly and behaviorally compromised. I am unable to take any more cats into the sanctuary. My mission now is to ensure these cats are cared for and are able to live out their lives in safety and peace. This takes all my strength and attention, and any funds I am able to raise go toward food, sanctuary and veterinary care. Due to my own health issues and finances, I simply am not able to start all over again with the trap and neuter and kitten program. 

If anyone in West Marin would like to take on any portion of this work, I can provide some training, resources and equipment. There is also help through Marin Friends of Ferals, Marin Humane and Jake’s Place Cat Rescue. All have websites and Facebook pages. 

The Point Reyes Animal Hospital has participated in a feral cat voucher program provided by Marin Humane, in which trapped feral cats may be brought in for spay or neuter surgery and vaccinations free of cost. Anyone interested in participating should talk to Dr. Mary Whitney and make a plan for trapping and bringing the cats in. Contact Keri Fennell at Marin Humane for vouchers. For more information on humane feral cat management, Google “Alley Cat Allies.” 

I want to thank each and every person who has supported Planned Feralhood over all these years. We could never have accomplished saving thousands of cat lives without your help, whether through donations or service or spiritual support. Dr. Whitney also deserves recognition for her invaluable contribution to the neutering and care of all the cats that went through our program. Thank you to Ms. Fennell and Marin Humane for supporting the feral cat program and for their vouchers that make it possible to use our own local clinic. Thank you, Marin Friends of Ferals, for all you do. Thank you to Dr. Lilliam Alfaro at The Loving Kindness Veterinary Clinic in Stinson Beach for your help. 

We are still a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity that is supporting 40 cats in sanctuary, so we will continue to ask for donations for that aspect of our work. My hope is that others in West Marin will carry on this most satisfying work of the humanitarian care of feral cat colonies. Please, when you see a cat in need, seek help and guidance from the sources listed above. If each neighborhood would take care of its own homeless cats, there would be no more feral cats. 

 

Kathy Runnion is the founder and president of Point Reyes Station-based Planned Feralhood.