CAT CRISIS: Lockhart animal shelter tries new program to control feline population

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LOCKHART, Texas (KXAN) — On his days off, you’ll find James Tiemann on the grounds of Lockhart’s animal shelter building cat houses.

“Something like this will keep them a lot warmer, keep them safer, the straw will help keep them dry, help insulate them a lot better,” says Tiemann, who volunteers at the shelter.

Tiemann repurposes old coolers and Styrofoam boxes to create cat houses. They are insulated with straw and sprinkled with flea-fighting powder. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

The houses help with the immediate need of sheltering feral cats but there’s also a long term goal.

“Proceeds from the cat houses will be brought back to the shelter here to help with our Trap, Neuter and Release Program that we’re going to start up here,” Tiemann says.

The shelter accommodates all of Caldwell County and saw 800 cats last year.

This year, they’ve already surpassed 1,000 cats.

“They’re coming in faster than we can get them out,” says Amy Baxter, Lockhart Animal Shelter rescue coordinator.

The concept of TNR is to spay or neuter feral cats and return them back to the environment so that they don’t take up space inside shelters and can lead healthy lives in nature without procreating too quickly for animal control to handle. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

Baxter says spending about $25 to spay, neuter and vaccinate cats now will save the shelter thousands down the road.

“They’re not just multiplying and spreading disease in everybody’s yard and all over the place by the thousands,” Baxter says.

She says counties across the country are starting TNR programs, including Bastrop.

Badxter wants Caldwell County to move forward on its cat crisis.

“It’s time to do something new. We’re doing the same old stuff and we’re euthanizing a lot of animals at all the shelters that don’t need to be, especially cats because they multiply so quickly,” Baxter says.

You can contact James Tiemann for a cat house by clicking here.

You can also contact the Lockhart Animal Shelter to find out how to participate in the TNR program by clicking here.

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