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In Utah, local animal rescue group Nuzzles and Co. and their Humane Society have received the green light on a proposed program for humanely managing cat colonies.

The program will allow for feral and stray cats to have sponsors, individuals or groups, responsible for their welfare.

This pilot program will launch in Summit County, Utah and will hopefully help control the stray and feral feline population, as well as providing care for these cats in the community.

How The Program Benefits Community & Stray Cats

Within Summit County, an average of 380 stray cats end up in shelters, per year, reports the Park Record.

These numbers should decrease with the success of the program, which will greatly benefit overrun shelters. And communities, of course, will benefit from a lower number of unsterilized and unvaccinated felines running the streets.

The felines, themselves, will also be able to continue living as they currently do, as well — just safer and healthier. With sponsors, they’ll be trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, ear-tipped, and then released.

If you’re unfamiliar with ear-tipping, it’s a necessary process that helps animal control recognize a cat as good-to-go and free-to-roam.

The program’s entire purpose is to allow stray cats to thrive on their own without multiplying, infecting, and ending up in much worse circumstances. All of this happens with a dedicated caretaker who is responsible for providing food, water, and some form of shelter.

They Need Responsible Cat Caretakers

Cat caretakers must pay a permit fee in order to establish themselves as the caregiver for a community, or colony, of cats. This permit fee, or application fee, helps the program vet individuals, groups, societies, or organizations.

If any history of animal abuse or neglect is found, active sponsorship will not be granted. Ideally, only experienced individuals will have this level of responsibility — not just for the cats, but for the community overall.

The success of the program, and its objective in lowering euthanasia rates, depends on them.

“We will collect data through this program and then come back before it expires and see what you want to do next based on what we learned from this experience,” says Deputy County Manager Janna Young.

Could This Program Run Nationwide?

Kicking off on December 21st, 2023, the success of the program could also make a drastic difference nationwide.

Tens of millions of unowned stray cats live outdoors, largely relying upon human kindness, says the Humane Society. Of this massive population, only 2 percent are spayed, neutered, and vaccinated.

In the meantime, you can help your local feral cat colonies too, especially as winter approaches. CatTime also has a full guide to helping feral cats in winter here!

Do you live in a community with a large number of stray cats that could benefit from a program like this? Would you become a sponsor for a cat colony? Then let us know in the comments below!