The writer and social critic Charles Dickens once asked, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?”

With its Community Cat Program, which addresses unchecked reproduction by capturing stray cats and spraying/neutering them before releasing them back into the wild, the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society is once again sharing its love for the felines and the community at large.

The relatively new program has been so successful, in fact, that humane society Director Lorri Hare said that in her 20-plus years at the shelter, this has been the best method to solve the stray cat problem in Bowling Green.

The results have been very positive indeed, as the Daily News’ John Reecer reported recently, with a more than 50% decrease in cat euthanizations.

In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the shelter euthanized 2,058 cats. In 2020-21 – the first full fiscal year with the program – 953 cats were euthanized. Hare said the previous year’s numbers were only cats that were sick and could not be cared for. She noted that they weren’t euthanized because of overcrowding.

“It’s proven to save cats’ lives, and it decreases the amount of stray cats as well,” Hare said of the Community Cat Program. “It’s a vacuum effect. One stray, pregnant cat can have an offspring pyramid of 450,000 kittens. Simply removing them isn’t going to fix that problem. The only way to fix this is with spay and neutering.”

Hare said these unowned animals – often referred to as community cats – can place a burden on densely populated urban areas where food is accessible. Even the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has chimed in, noting that Community Cat Programs involving sterilization “decreases nuisance behaviors and increases welfare” among cat populations.

Hare credited the Bowling Green City Commission for implementing a trial period for the shelter’s program after citizens expressed concerns about community cats creating nuisance situations in neighborhoods, and the numbers show the program seems to be working well.

The humane society for years has provided many benefits for our community and its animals, and we believe its Community Cat Program is another important service to be applauded.

– Any information or complaints concerning cats in the community can be reported to the humane society by calling the Community Cat Hotline at 270-715-0937.

“Our Opinion” pieces in the Bowling Green Daily News exclusively represent the majority opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or beliefs of any other Daily News employees.

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