(Lafayette Animal Shelter and WildCat Foundation/SpayNation)- As the winter weather continues, Lafayette Parish residents may find evidence of rodents seeking shelter from the cold in their homes, garages and businesses. Lafayette Animal Shelter and Care Center (LASCC) and WildCat Foundation/SpayNation have teamed up to create a program that offers an all-natural pest control solution, free of poisons and traps. “Cats Clocking In” (CCI) is an adoption program which matches cats that are unsuitable for a traditional adoption with homeowners and businesses looking for rodent deterrence.
CCI is an extension of LASCC’s Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program, which traps, sterilizes, and returns feral cats to where they were found. However, in some cases, returning the animal to its former location is not practical. LASCC Supervisor Shelley Delahoussaye explains, “Feral and semi-feral cats may be unable to be returned to the area they lived previously for various reasons. Presently, cats in this situation live at our shelter’s barn, but it is not a long-term solution. The new CCI program will place these cats somewhere that they are not only wanted, but needed.” Cats are excellent, environmentally friendly rodent deterrents, Delahoussaye stated. “CCI will relocate feral cats and give them a job doing what they do naturally! It’s a win-win in our book!”
Since launching the No Kill 2020 initiative in 2016, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux has sought new partnerships and unique programs to achieve the goal. “This is just one more way to increase our live outcomes. It makes sense as a proven best practice and is easily implemented. Thanks to our partnership with WildCat Foundation/SpayNation, there are NO adoption fees associated with the Cats Clocking In program,” he stated.
Unlike a traditional adoption, CCI promotes a business-like relationship between working cats and their new owners. In exchange for food, water, shelter and basic medical care, the cats protect their new home from rodents. Working cats are employed where pest control is needed such as barns, farms, factories, warehouses, stores and private property. Having a working cat on patrol prevents rodents from taking up residence in these areas. With the assistance of WildCat Foundation/SpayNation, working cats are spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, and ear tipped at no cost to the adopter. Working cats are adopted in pairs to keep each other company. Those interested in hiring a working cat or cats can find out more here: http://www.lafayettela.gov/LASCC/Pages/Cats-Clocking-In.aspx
Paula Stude, president of Wild Cat Foundation/SpayNation believes Cats Clocking In can help improve feral and semi-feral cats’ reputation. “Rather than seeing our stray cats as problems, we can take compassionate steps to make sure every cat has its place.” Wildcat Foundation/SpayNation is offering its feline expertise to adopters interested in a working cat. “We are excited that our partnership with LASCC is expanding,” Stude explained. “With each new development animals are being saved and No Kill 2020 is becoming a reality.”
According to Robideaux, the CCI program is part of a multi-pronged approach to transform LASCC to a no kill shelter. “Increased adoption opportunities, growing partnerships with rescue organizations, lower adoption fees, and new programs and policies all contribute to the tremendous strides toward reaching no kill status in 2020.” In 2017, an ordinance was passed to significantly lower adoption fees and even eliminate fees altogether for military veterans and senior citizens. The ordinance also allowed for the feline TNR program. LASCC had a record-breaking year in 2018 with 1,059 adoptions. “Our data shows significant success since launching the no kill initiative, with annual adoptions increasing from 517 to 1,059 and rescues jumping from 174 to 768.”