After hosting two trap, spay/neuter and release events for stray and feral cats, Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter shifted its focus Tuesday.

The shelter hosted its first free spay/neuter clinic for domestic cats at Tomah Recreation Park.

Nineteen cats, 15 female and four male, were spayed or neutered.

Becky Ladd, manager of CDAS, said the clinic is a way to help with the overpopulation of stray/feral cats.

“I think this is fantastic. It’s the first time that we’ve tried this, but I think it really, really helps,” she said. “There’s just so many cats, and low-income people ... can’t afford it, and people know that it’s the best thing (to do). They don’t want to be having kittens or too many cats that they can’t take care of.”

A spay or neuter typically costs $200 or a little more, Ladd said.

Stray and feral cats are a huge problem in Tomah and Monroe County, Ladd said.

“We’re trying to do everything that we can to cut down on the reproduction, because there are way too many cats and not enough places for them to go,” she said. “It just seems that every year it’s just becoming more and more of a problem, and hopefully if we can help spay and neuter as many as we can, we can eventually down the road help the overpopulation and their reproducing.”

In 2016 CDAS took in a total of 230 cats. With four months left in 2017 that number has already been surpassed, Ladd reported.

“I don’t know if the population is necessarily growing, but people know about us,” she said. “So people are calling, and it’s not just Tomah — I mean people from New Lisbon, Camp Douglas, Sparta − even as far as Cataract, Norwalk − people call from all around, and we help when we can.”

Besides helping with overpopulation, spaying and neutering is healthier for the animal, said veterinarian Jan Doelle of Jan Doelle Veterinary Service in Holmen. She performed all the spays and neuters.

“This is kind of tackling the problem head on, plus cats that are fixed have longer, healthier lives,” she said. “Males tend to fight less, they have less marking tendencies, plus they don’t have the territories they try to cover as far as breeding purposes. So it’s just excellent for the health of the animals, plus for the future of human societies and shelters, spaying and neutering is the way to go.”

Cats were also vaccinated for rabies and distemper, had their ears cleaned and nails clipped after spaying or neutering.

Ladd hopes to keep working to reduce the number of stray/feral cats by hosting more events like free domestic spay/neuter clinics and the trap, neuter and release program.

“Hopefully again in the spring time we’ll do another trap, spay/neuter and release, and assuming I can get funds, we’ll continue to do this as much as we can,” she said.

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