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Group fights to control stray cat population in Cincinnati

A Cincinnati-area group is increasing their efforts to control the population of stray cats in the area. The Ohio Alley Cat Resource, which originally focused on trapping feral cats, has now expanded to offer low cost spay and neuter services.

Charlotte White-Hull is the Development and Outreach Director of the organization. She's been in the business of helping cats for 22 years and worked at a privately-funded shelter before starting OAR. "I just became frustrated because I felt like I was on this treadmill where I was doing great work, saving cats but I was getting further and further behind."

The clinic, located in Madisonville at 5619 Orlando Place, near Madison and Red Bank Roads, can serve as many as 9,000 animals when fully-operational.

OAR still traps feral cats-which, by definition, are cats that have never been socialized by humans and have found a good source of food. White-Hull will loan traps to private citizens, who then bring the cats they catch into the clinic for spay-neuter services.

White-Hull says cat populations tend to explode over a short period of time because cats go into heat more often than dogs. But biology isn't the only thing to blame. "I believe that many people in the public don't value cats as much as they do dogs, so they are willing to spend money on spaying or neutering dogs. Some people feel like stray cats can fend for themselves."

The problem has gotten worse with the economy. Shelters report more cats surrendered because their owners cannot care for them, and abandoned cats are being left behind in foreclosed homes. "We cannot adopt our way out of the stray cat problem in this city. If I spay 20 cats in a week, I can prevent as many kittens as I was able to save in a year in a shelter."

So White-Hull raises money through various fundraisers, including an Oscar viewing party this past weekend. The clinic is seeking grants and recently began a new gift card fundraiser in conjunction with the Cincinnati-based grocery chain Kroger. The cards are worth $5 each and can be used at any Kroger store across the country. For every dollar spent, four percent of the purchase is given back to OAR.

And until March 12th, the clinic is holding a March Meow Madness special, taking $15 off regular cost.

For more information, go to www.ohioalleycat.com or can call the clinic at 513-871-0185 for more information. They are open Monday-Friday with occasion Saturday clinics.  The clinic also has cats up for adoption at their Madisonville location and at the Petsmart in Oakley.

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