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Cat overpopulation in Auburn: Has the city’s TNR program been a success?

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  • Megan Hatch 

If you live or have visited Auburn this past year, chances are you have seen a cat or maybe multiple as the city is facing an overpopulation of cats.

Pet abandonment and the inability to collect all the cats to spay and neuter them is the reason why this problem continues to exist. However, Auburn NY Community Cats is willing to do the work to help.

How Auburn Community Cats TNR is helping decrease the cat overpopulation

More: Groups taking on the problem of cat overpopulation in Cayuga County

TNR: Trap, Neuter, Release 

Sue Secaur is the president of Auburn Community Cats TNR and started this mission in 2021 because she loves the cats in the city and wanted to help.

“Auburn is loaded with thousands of homeless cats and there’s a lot of suffering going on, people see it. We call them community cats. A lot of people call them feral but I think that has a bad connotation to it. They just keep being born out in the wild, and so the problem was not going away, it’s exploding,” said Secaur.

“So every little bit we can do helps. If you do a colony at a time, eventually, we do return them, but they’re fixed, they’re just not going to grow any more than a colony.”

Secaur explained she got the idea to start the Auburn TNR organization from the TNR group in Moravia which she took by example.

One of the Moravia founders, Patty Reynolds, came to Auburn to help the group in the beginning and now Auburn Community Cats TNR has grown to about 86 community volunteers with an official board.

Secaur says in order to track what cats they have already spayed or neutered, they have to eartip them. TNR programs use eartipping so others can recognize what cats have been fixed.

The city council bequeathed Auburn Community Cats TNR $5000 awaiting 501C3

Back in February, Claire Lovell, the group’s secretary, put in the paperwork and a few days ago the government got back to Auburn Community Cats TNR and said they were still working on January applications.

“Ours was put in on February 10. So they haven’t even gotten to it, but we’ve done all the paperwork we’re supposed to do, and paid any fees or whatever. So a lot of places are still giving us credit for doing that.”

Once the 501C3 is passed, then the government can pass the money to the organization and the organization can get grants from the government.

“We’ll get the grant from the city for one thing, although there’s a possibility we could get it anyways. A large donation from the city would cover at least four clinics and we could probably get close to 100 cats just for that.”

Auburn Community Cats TNR is accepting donations

In the meantime, while waiting for the non-profit status to be approved, Auburn Community Cats TNR attends fundraisers at various events in the FingerLakes as well as acccepting donations through their GoFundMe and Venmo.

Secaur said almost 100% of the traps have been donated to them and they are very grateful for that.

“The community support is wonderful. We have wonderful volunteers. Auburn as a whole, we get such positive feedback and the people, I have goosebumps thinking about it, the people are so grateful.”

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