TAVARES – If you’re a cat lover in Central Florida, there’s some good news for you. It’s going to be Caturday every day.
The Lake County Animal Shelter is about to launch a new trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) program named “Every Day Is Caturday” beginning on Tuesday, June 1. The Shelter says this program “provides a humane and proactive approach to reducing the free-roaming cat population.” Online scheduling will be available, allowing the public to make appointments Monday through Friday, and the cost of the program will be $10 per cat.
As the stray cat population continues to grow, this is an effort to not only reach more residents in the region but also more feral cats. The program is a re-launch of the previously held “Operation Community Caturday” that took place the last Saturday of each month.
“Our hope is that through this new, more accessible approach, we will be able to double the number of cats served with this program,” said Lake County Animal Shelter Director Whitney Boylston.
The program is reserved for free-roaming stray cats that don’t have a home. Boylston noted that cats need to arrive to the shelter in a humane trap that is covered to help reduce the animal’s stress. In addition to being spayed or neutered, all accepted cats will receive a rabies and combo vaccine, and deworming. They will also be ear-tipped, and residents who now have pet cats can use Lake County’s spay/neuter rebate program.
How Can Area Residents Learn More?
Residents who want more information on the program, including how to get involved and to learn how to trap cats, are welcome to attend the shelter’s free upcoming TNVR workshop “Caturday School” on June 20. Residents can register for the class online. Attendees will be eligible for 3 coupons for free Caturday appointments. To register for the class, visit online here.
“The Caturday School class is also a great opportunity for residents who care about cats and want to make an impact on the lives of community cats in their neighborhood,” Boylston noted.
This event will be co-hosted by LEASH, Inc., which works to reduce the stray cat population. The class will cover the basics of:
- Teach how to set traps and trap difficult cats
- and explore the best practices in community cat management.
What’s New at the Lake County Animal Shelter?
In January 2019, Lake County’ broke ground on a larger and far more high tech shelter than the one that had been hosting stray animals for decades.
The Lake County Animal Shelter built this new shelter to have the space needed to temporarily house hundreds of dogs, cats and other pets as they wait for adoption, and the building doubled the size of the older building to 31,000 square feet.
The older shelter was built in 1994, but that 13,000 square foot facility was too small and frequently struggled with overcrowding issues, while also suffering from faulty air conditioning problems.
In response, the Lake County Commission voted to approve the construction of a new animal shelter, financed by a one-cent sales tax that voters reauthorized in 2015. The commission also made the need for a new shelter more urgent by adopting a no-kill policy for Lake County, meaning animals are only to be euthanized if they’re too sick or too aggressive to be adopted.
Instead, the county has pushed for a strong adoption program to find homes for stray cats and dogs, and the shelter has responded with special adoption programs throughout the year, including the Caturday special adoptions.
Officials at the animal shelter say the no-kill policy has been working, and the county has placed more than 3,700 pets in recent years.
To find out more about the Lake County Animal Shelter, or to adopt or volunteer, stop by the shelter at 28123 County Road 561, Tavares, call 352-343-9688 or visit their website.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.