Toy dogs help cats

Nov 06, 2012
Photo by: Donated photo Haywood Spay/Neuter’ TNR project has been making inroads on the free-roaming cat problem since 2009.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation has awarded Haywood Spay/Neuter with a $1,500 grant to help with its Trap-Neuter Return (TNR) project in Haywood County.

“This grant comes at a critical time as we have a list of elderly residents waiting for our TNR team to help them with their cat overpopulation problem,” said Susan Kumpf, board member and lead trapper.  “Many residents help free-roaming cats with food and shelter but just cannot afford the cost of the spay/neuter surgery.  Unfortunately, the few cats in their care then turn into many since cats rapidly reproduce after five months of age. We see this situation occur over and over again with elderly citizens, where the situation is especially critical since so many cats will face shelter euthanasia, after their caregiver’s death.  Haywood Spay/Neuter is addressing this problem by helping them get the cats fixed, but we need the funds to cover the cost of surgery and vaccinations. This grant will provide surgery for 35 cats.”
The Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation is committed to making life more bearable for children, families, and pets in need of a helping paw. With the sale of each full-sized Bearemy’s Kennel Pals© friend — a collection of Build-A-Bear Workshop© plush dogs — $1 is donated to domestic pet programs including local animal shelters, stray pet rescue, rehabilitation organizations, and pet education programs around the country. Visit

“It’s delightful that children are enjoying the plush Build-A-Bear toy dogs and at the same time, they are contributing to the welfare of homeless cats,” said Connie Hewitt, board president.  “We are really grateful that the foundation chose to help us continue our efforts to reduce the number of free-roaming cats through spay/neuter.”

Haywood Spay/Neuter’ TNR project has been making inroads on the free-roaming cat problem since 2009. Too many unfixed pet cats are discarded, dumped or allowed to just run free and reproduce.  After months and years of living on the streets, they become distrustful of humans and stay clear of them, making them much less likely to become indoor pets. If trapped and taken to the shelter, these cats are euthanized at a cost to county taxpayers of $52 each.

If trapped, neutered, and returned to their original site, these cats can live out their days without being a behavioral nuisance with fighting, territorial spraying, unwanted litters, and caterwauling.  And since they are given rabies vaccinations at the time of surgery, they are unlikely to become a health threat to citizens.  More than 1,000 cats were euthanized at the Haywood County Animal Shelter in 2011 alone, at a cost of over $52,000 taxpayer dollars.
As of Nov. 5, the TNR project has fixed and vaccinated 761 free-roaming Haywood County cats.  The 2012 goal is 800 cats.  Haywood Spay/Neuter needs help to keep this project going.  To prevent homeless cats from ending up in the shelter and being euthanized, people are encouraged to become a TNR team volunteer. Call 452-1329 for more information.


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