TNR program nears 1,000 cats
The TNR program, organized by Cedar Key’s Oliver and Doreen Bauer – owners of the Faraway Inn, has spayed or neutered and vaccinated a whopping 951 cats since its start in Oct. 2006.
“It’s an ongoing process,” said Doreen Bauer in a telephone interview, adding that animals are constantly being dropped on the island and they’re mainly there because of people. She explained that cats came over on ships in the past and that’s how cat situations get started in most places.
Bauer said when they first moved to Cedar Key in 2000, they’d drive to their business and see all of these stray cats everywhere. She said that Dock Street smelled like cats and the best way to keep the population down without killing them was the TNR program. She described Cedar Key as being pet friendly, a tourist environment with businesses, a small community and their home, which she said is what encouraged them to start the program in the town.
She also said in releasing the spayed and neutered cats back to the areas where they were trapped assists with the population. She said the existing cats will keep others from moving in to their territory. They also keep the rat and mice population down. She said clammers will sometimes adopt the cats for that reason.
The program assists with cats from Cedar Key to Rosewood, and only charges $10 for the spay/neuter procedure and vaccinations. The cats are given a rabies tag good for one year. The fee pays for food for the cats and the procedure. The Bauers pay for transportation expenses out of their own pockets. They keep the cats for 2-3 days to allow them time to heal before releasing them or they release them to a caregiver.
Bauer said that even if someone cannot pay, they still try to assist. She said they’d rather help than have 100 cats that started with just 10. She also said that in seven years, one male and one female cat can cause 427,000 potential births as they and then their offspring breed.
The Bauers take five to nine cats a month to the surgery center in Ocala, nine being the most they can transport in their truck at a time. They’ve worked with different entities throughout the duration of the program and have been working with Sheltering Hands out of Williston for the last three years. Doreen Bauer said people can also go directly through Sheltering Hands for the program as well.
A fundraiser for the TNR program is scheduled to be held at the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 24. Teri Mathis will be present to sign and sell her book “Notes from Faraway Inn” to benefit the program. Bauer said they will also have Valentine’s and Mother’s Day packages available with a few different varieties of items. She said the funds go directly to pay for the surgeries and food for before and after the procedure.
The next scheduled surgery date is Feb. 8 and then again on March 22. For more information on the TNR program, call the hotline at 352-840-0663.