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2011 was most successful year for group that spays cats


A Lake County cat organization is celebrating a major milestone after helping more than 5,000 stray and feral cats since the group began a decade ago.

The Grayslake-based Spay and Stay spays or neuters cats before releasing them back into the community.

It had its most successful year in 2011 when it helped more than 1,000 cats, pushing its overall numbers to more than 5,000 cats since it started in 2002, said Cynthia Deen, program manager of Spay and Stay.

A grant from Petsmart Co. last year helped bump up the number of cats that were spayed or neutered, Deen said. The grant allowed the group to spay or neuter 350 cats for free in Round Lake Heights, Waukegan and Wauconda.

The group gets calls from Lake County residents about cats in their neighborhood, and volunteers use traps to capture  them. After the cats are fixed, they are released back into the community but don’t add to the cat overpopulation problem, Deen said.

Spay and Stay charges $25 per cat for the spay or neuter. It also includes rabies and distemper vaccines in addition to minor wound care, she said.

The group hopes to help even more cats this year if it can receive enough donations and grants, she said.

Deen said she is seeing more friendly cats that were probably pets rather than feral cats that have received little human contact and are difficult to handle, she said.

She believes the increase of tame cats is due to hard economic times, leading to more people abandoning their pets.  And because shelters are at capacity, some pet owners feel they don’t have anywhere for their pet to go, so they abandon them.

Many of these abandoned pets have never been spayed or neutered, so they are multiplying, she said.

Deen estimates there’s between 10,000 and 20,000 stray and feral cats in Lake County.



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