Cat-Swamped Veneta Residence Gets Help From National Animal Group

Sep 11, 2019

Efforts to help hundreds of cats on a homestead near Veneta just received a big assist from a national organization.

In this photo taken August 27, 2019 a trail of cats leads up to the Veneta property that's been deemed unsafe for people to live in.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

The group - called Alley Cat Allies – is based in Maryland. Established in 1990, it’s dealt with situations like this before. Founder Becky Robinson says she’s a half dozen staffers in Veneta now, with more possibly to follow.  The months-long plan involves trapping, neutering, and releasing the cats over time (called TNR for short).

Becky Robinson, Founder and President of Alley Cat Allies, which was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.
Credit Provided by Peter Osborne / Alley Cat Allies

“It’s only cats who are socialized to humans that will be placed for adoption," Robinson tells KLCC.  "So there could be a significant number of cats returned to the property.  And that will be fine, they will be cared for, just like many other communities have.”

Partnering on the plan is Greenhill Humane Society. Executive Director Cary Lieberman says more than 40 cats have already been brought in from Veneta, for medical care. He says it’s not unusual for them to address cat colonies like this.

“The last one that I recall was close to 10 years ago, actually.  That had about 140 cats involved.”

Lieberman and Robinson say getting your pets fixed is key to avoiding situations like this one.

Greenhill Humane Society's Executive Director, Cary Lieberman, with furry friend.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

A relative of the property owner tells KLCC that it all started 13 years ago with a mother cat and five kittens.  With female cats able to breed through most of their lives, and produced two to three litters a year - it obviously didn't take long for the numbers to explode.

Lieberman sympathizes with their plight.

In this August 27, 2019 photo another clowder of cats stay in the shade during a very hot afternoon.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“This is a situation where a family who really cared about cats, became overwhelmed, because they didn’t prioritize spaying or neutering those cats," he says. 

"And so we believe very strongly in that. Our program that spays a neuters over a thousand free-roaming cats every single year, and is free for this community…it’s one of Greenhill’s priorities to prevent problems like this in the future.”

As of Wednesday morning, Robinson says 42 cats and three kittens have been taken from the Veneta property. All will be fixed and microchipped, with the more socialized ones being put up for adoption. 

Two Greenhill veterinarians are currently working with the rescued felines, and Alley Cat Allies says over time, they plan to reach out to other local vets to assist.

In this September 2019 photo shared by Alley Cat Allies, two cats on the Veneta property share a post.
Credit Provided by Peter Osborne / Alley Cat Allies

When asked about timeline, Alley Cat Allies' Robinson said it would "take a few months" but was confident every cat would be rescued from the property.  She told KLCC about her organization's work with urgent care situations including in the aftermath of disasters such as the California wildfires, as well as hurricanes and floods.  A sizable population of cats living under the famed Atlantic City boardwalk are also being looked after, all with the aim to provide humane and non-lethal care.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.