Po’Kitties – working for a living since 2007

Published 6:31 pm Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Po’Kitties, the TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program of Foothills Humane Society, was created in 2007 to help with the free-roaming cats living in our community. Since then, Po’Kitties has serviced almost 3,600 cats in Polk County and upper Spartanburg County, S.C.

Luna studying the books at Purrrfect Bark in Columbus. (photos submitted)

Luna studying the books at Purrrfect Bark in Columbus. (photos submitted)

TNR, or Trap-Neuter-Return, is now the national standard for dealing with free-roaming cats. It has been endorsed by the National Animal Control Association (NACA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), among others, as the most effective and the most humane way to handle free-roaming cats.

Po’Kitties has been held up nationally as an example of how a humane community can work together, not only to reduce or eliminate unwanted behaviors such as fighting, marking, howling and litter after litter of cats, but to save the lives of free-roaming cats and to allow them to live out their lives in peace and freedom.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Locally, the City of Spartanburg saw how successful Po’Kitties was, so officials did their homework and started using TNR to deal with of the city’s free roaming cats.

They, and the community they represent, are very pleased with the outcome.

As a part of a TNR program, cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, given a rabies shot and ear tipped for identification, before being released back to their home. Cats who go through Po’Kitties are all taken through the process free of charge, through the generosity of Foothills Humane Society, community donors and PetSmart® Charities, as well as the staff at Landrum Vet.

Gabe at Vera of Landrum doing tricks for the customers. (photo submitted)

Gabe at Vera of Landrum doing tricks for the customers. (photo submitted)

Many businesses in the community provide financial and marketing support, food and/or have free-roaming cats on their property.

These include (but are not limited to) The Brick, Buck’s Pizza, Burger King, Expressions Florist, Giardini’s, Hare & Hound, Headliners, Jennings Used Cars, Larkin’s Carolina Grill, Little Mountain Farm Supply, McDonalds, Mountain 1st Bank, Purrfect Bark, Steps to HOPE, Stone Soup, Vera of Landrum and Vines & Stuff.

When Po’Kitties traps a tame cat or small kittens, they are adopted out through FHS to get them off the streets. Many of the tamer strays now have jobs in our community as “Shop Cats,” and do a great job of greeting customers in shops and businesses.

Some of these cats cope well in high traffic areas. In areas where the cats are not safe, Po’Kitties can relocate them, but only as a last resort. Cats can be very territorial and consider their space to be their home, so relocating them can be tricky.

Some barn homes are used for the ones who cannot be returned because of safety issues. The program is always looking for more barns with room to share for cats in need.

Po’Kitties is living proof that TNR works. Volunteers are grateful to live in such a humane, caring community.

– article submitted by Dana Mayer