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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Humane Society event helps cats find homes

  • Debbie Gray, the president of the McPherson County Humane Society, said the weekend’s second annual Meow Mixer led to the adoption of 15 cats.
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  • Debbie Gray, the president of the McPherson County Humane Society, said the weekend’s second annual Meow Mixer led to the adoption of 15 cats.
    The Meow Mixer, which took place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the McPherson Humane Society, provided an opportunity to adopt a cat with the usual $45 adoption fee waived.
    Refreshments and snacks also were available for potential adoptive families and those just passing through.
    Gray said, like every city, McPherson has a cat problem.
    “There’s an overpopulation of cats in the city,” Gray said, “and we get a lot of people who surrender pets. That’s very disappointing. That’s why our adoption applications are so stringent.”
    Gray said in her time at the Humane Society, this has been the worst kitten season she’s seen.
    “We took in 72 kittens this season,” Gray said. Kitten season typically lasts from spring until frost, though Gray said she had seen kittens born later than that.
    In order to assist the Humane Society in its attempts to control the feral cat population, the City of McPherson has a Fix-A-Cat voucher program to help with the costs of trapping, spaying and neutering. The voucher provides $47 per cat.
    Once the homeless cats have been spayed or neutered, the tip of an ear is notched so the Humane Society can tell which cats have already been through the process.
    “We’re hoping in a few years we will see the results by seeing less cats on the streets,” Gray said. “It’s getting better, and that’s because the city’s issuing these vouchers. We’re not getting as many calls on feral cats anymore.”
    Gray said feral cats don’t pose a threat to people.
    “The cases of rabies are very minimal,” Gray said. “The main reason we don’t want to see these overpopulations is because they end up spreading diseases. We don’t like to see them suffer because of overpopulation.”
    Gray said much of the overpopulation is the fault of irresponsible owners who don’t have their pets spayed or neutered and pay little care to the animal’s routines.
    The Humane Society hopes to avoid such owner apathy through a stringent application process.
    “If you’re a pet owner,” Gray said, “we want to know if you’ve kept your pet up to date on its shots. We want to contact your veterinarian to see if you’re getting regular care for them. If you rent, we verify with your landlord whether you’re allowed to have pets. The bottom line is, are you committed to this animal?”
    Page 2 of 2 - City Administrator Nick Gregory said the Fix-A-Cat voucher program began around the time Mayor Tom Brown came into office.
    “A lot of people were complaining about the feral cat population explosion,” Gregory said. “We’re making good headway, but people need to remember it’s not a problem that goes away over time. The Humane Society has done a great job with their trap, spay and release program. The city has supplied them money for humane traps.”
    Gregory said the McPherson County Humane Society’s work was a vital service in the community.
    “We have a very active Humane Society that’s working hard,” Gregory said. “The commission wouldn’t have allocated them funds if they weren’t. If the Humane Society wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have anyone to spearhead these efforts.”
    Gray and her staff are confronted by a challenging task made all the more arduous by the fact they’re all volunteers.
    “We’re not getting paid for any of this,” Gray said. “I don’t know how we manage to do this.”
    Despite this, Gray said the McPherson County Humane Society has been visited by people as far away as Great Bend and Hutchinson solely on word of mouth recommendations.
    “We had people from Great Bend tell us they had to come here because we’d been recommended as so good,” Gray said. “I’m proud of what we do, but it is a lot of work.”
    Gray said that people should wait until the time is right to get a pet.
    “Just remember,” Gray said, “the animals have no control over who can take them home, and because of that we guarantee people that they can return them.”
    Those interested in visiting or adopting a pet from the McPherson County Humane Society can visit their facility at 201 S. Elm from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
    The Humane Society can be reached by phone at 241-3682, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/McPherson-County-Humane-Society/466387730579.
    Those interested in volunteering at the Humane Society can pick up an application at their facility.
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