When Canonsburg’s code enforcement agents go to board up vacant or abandoned homes in the borough, it isn’t rats or raccoons they have to worry about trapping inside: It’s the stray cats.
“We just had one two or three weeks ago,” borough Manager Terry Hazlett confirmed.
And the problem with stray and feral cats roaming free isn’t just a problem in those few houses—it’s a problem throughout the borough.
“We receive calls from residents that there are cats everywhere,” he said. “This has been an ongoing problem since I’ve been here, but it has accelerated over the last two years.”
That’s why a group of volunteers reached out to Hazlett and asked if the community would be willing to host a mobile spay and neuter unit that Animal Friends operates.
The program, which is coordinated by volunteers, allows people to bring in cats to be spayed or neutered at a modest cost of about $35, he said.
And while a date for the program has not yet been set, Hazlett said he hoped to host the mobile clinic once each month from April through the fall—when cats breed.
Canonsburg Animal Control Officer Kym Secreet lauded the program, especially at a time when stray and feral cats are out in force.
The mild weather, she said, has them out of their hiding places and into people’s yards.
“They’re not hiding anymore,” Secreet said. “They are now laying openly on people’s lawn furniture.”
And while it is an issue in Canonsburg, she said stray and feral cats are also problematic in Cecil and Muse, specifically, where last week six cats were found dead—and humane officers suspect they were poisoned.
The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors also is considering hosting the program after information was presented on the issue just prior to its meeting last week.
Manager Don Gennuso told the board that feral and stray cats were an ongoing problem in their community, as well, with members of the audience yelling out in agreement.
The board is also mulling an ordinance governing the feeding of wild animals such as feral cats.
Editor's Note: Volunteers say the first Fix ur Cat program has been set for April 4 at North Strabane Municipal Building, Public Works Garage. Anyone in the area who would like to volunteer in a project like this one, especially veterinarians and people who have time and experience with trapping should send me an e-mail at email@example.com. The groups is also happy to receive donations from people who believe in the spay/neuter program and who would be willing to sponsor the spay/neuter of of animals that cannot be covered by their owners or care takers.