SNiP-it, Osceola County’s local non-profit low-cost spay and neuter clinic, located at 3096 Michigan Avenue in Kissimmee, has made it its mission to provide the residents of Central Florida with humane solutions to the pet overpopulation problem through education and by offering low-cost spay/neuter services.

One of the animals that are currently overpopulating Central Florida including Osceola County is feral cats otherwise known as community cats. The current population of feral cats is in Central Florida is 2 million partly because of  Florida’s ideal climate.

What exactly is a feral cat?  A “community cat” lives outside (can’t be picked up and held), has no owner, and no home. A feral cat is a cat who has either never had any contact with people or its contact with people has diminished over time. Feral cats are not socialized to people and survive on their own outdoors and are not likely to ever become lap cats or enjoy living indoors. They live full, healthy lives with their feline families (called colonies) in their outdoor homes. Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane, effective approach to community cats (feral cats), and it helps them and the communities where they live.

How can residents help the feral cat issue in Osceola County? You can start by making sure that feral cats in your area are spayed and neutered. The way to tell if they are without getting too close is simply looking for one of their ears to be clipped. This modification to the cat’s ear allows clinics and veterinaries to know whether the animal has been altered. Also, it is smart to make sure that these cats are vaccinated.

How to trap a feral cat –  SNiP-it has an excellent program called Community Cat Assistance which allows you to ask for help trapping the feral cat/cats in your area. You can fill out the form and a volunteer will come to your residence and walk you through the process of trapping the cats. Trap-Neuter-Return ensures community cats are humanely trapped, brought to the clinic to be spayed or neutered and then returned to their outdoor homes. There is a $60 trap deposit and a $5 trap fee. Once the cat is trapped and spayed or neutered the trap is then returned to SNiP-it and the $60 deposit is refunded back to you.

There are typically always feral cats sterilization appointments available every day but it is highly recommended that you make an appointment. You are more than welcome to come in with a feral cat and be on stand by if you would like to wait. The Community Cat Pack that is offered includes pain medication that lasts 72 hours, sterilization surgery, rabbis vaccination, feline Distemper vaccination, a de-worming injection, and eartipped (the universal sign that a cat has been part of a TNR program). The cat must be picked up by 5:00 pm and released back into the wild.

It is a proven fact that colonies of sterile cats will not allow nonsterile cats into their colony. This is just another reason why it is so important to collect feral cats who have not been trapped and sterilized. Stopping the overpopulation of feral cats can only be done with the help of the community and amazing clinics like SNiP-it.

Osceola County can benefit from the Trap-Neuter-Release program because it reduces and stabilizes community cat populations, saves tax-payers’ dollars, helps shelters focus on adoptions, and provides a humane and collaborative way to address concerns and coexist with cats. Together we can help save these cats and put an end to the overpopulation issue.

For more information on SNiP-it and its spay and neuter services please CLICK HERE!