Mayport Village- Taking Action to Help Homeless Cats!

Mayport Village in northeast Florida found itself with a big problem- lots of homeless cats. But this community didn’t just turn a blind eye like many communities do- they took action. To learn just exactly what this community has done, I’ve invited Tammy King from Mayport Cats, Inc. here to tell us all about it. Please give her a warm welcome!

The volunteers of Mayport Cats, Inc.
The volunteers of Mayport Cats, Inc.

Tammy:  Thank you for taking an interest in cat issues and I am pleased to help “enlighten” our canine cousins.  Most dogs are only interested in what the cat is eating and those little morsels they leave in the litterbox that seem so tasty.  I am honored.

Rumpy: I love ALL animals! Now I know that every community has feral cats, whether they admit it or not.

Tammy: Yes they are and the biggest problem is that people feed the cats, but don’t get them fixed or medical attention.

Rumpy:  Why did your community decide to do something about it?

Tammy: We live in a fishing village. So for many years the myth that a cat “belongs” or will live well in a fishing village was the belief of choice for most.  The cats outnumbered the humans and they were sick and dying.  I knew the cats had to be fixed, but the local vets wanted over 100.00 per cat.

Rumpy:  That could get pretty expensive!

Tammy: Luckily, the first low/no cost spay/neuter clinic had just opened in Jacksonville and that’s how I learned about TNR.  I felt this was a much more economical and humane solution to the problem other than letting them continue to breed and die.  And it would stabilize and eventually reduce the population.

This kitty was caught in a humane trap and was neutered.
This kitty was caught in a humane trap and was neutered.

Rumpy:  So what exactly did you do?

Tammy: I borrowed some traps from the clinic and began trapping.  They had just received a grant to spay/neuter all feral cats in my area since our reputation for being a “cat village” was well known.  So I started trapping and haven’t stopped since.

Rumpy:  Hooray! And what’s been the result of all that hard work?

Tammy:  It has been incredible.  For a few years we had no kittens born in my area; however with the economic downturn, many cats were dumped here and in the past 2 years we’ve only had 3 litters born.  It has cleaned up our community and the caretakers are able to handle the cats, so the feeding stations and colonies are cleaner and healthier also.  It has also educated many people who would otherwise not have been aware of the resources and benefits of TNR.

Rumpy:  What do you mean by “dumped” cats?

Tammy:  When people lose their homes, they dump their cats.  Our location on the water, next to low income housing and a Navy base has meant that Mayport Village is literally the center of the cat universe.  People began to hear about our program and assumed their pet cats would be cared for out here or people that don’t like ferals in their yard, will trap them and then dump them here.

Rumpy:  So people actually abandon their cats there rather than surrender them to animal control?

Tammy: Yes, as more people have become aware of us and our location, we have seen an increase in “dumped” social cats.  In fact 4 more were dumped last week, however with our colony maintenance and community involvement, we are alerted to new cats and they are trapped.

Rumpy:  Are other communities doing the same thing to manage feral cat populations?

Tammy:  We have had out of state communities call for information on how to start a program.  Locally, because our city instituted the Feral Freedom program through the city’s Animal Care & Protective Services, most in the community are aware of TNR.
These cats are healthy and well fed thanks to Mayport Cats Inc.
These cats are healthy and well fed thanks to Mayport Cats, Inc.

Rumpy:  That’s wonderful! But it must cost lots of money. Who pays for it all?

Tammy: We work on donations, no cat/caretaker is denied because they can’t pay.  Ferals don’t have anyone to pay, so we take donations and get grants.  We have even traded out working at the clinic to help pay our spay/neuter bill.  We have 2 fundraisers a year.  While we do not have alot of funds and are an all volunteer group, we always seem to have enough for “one more cat”.

Rumpy: Animal welfare volunteers are some of the most dedicated humans I know! So what’s the last word on managing feral cat populations?

Tammy:  Education!  This is the key to clearing the myths about feral cats and abandoning your cat or any animal.  It will NOT be ok on it’s own, even if it is “just a cat”.  Ferals are usually in great shape, it’s the dumped house cat that we find in terrible condition.

Please make an effort to get your cat fixed, even if it’s a male.  While he may not have kittens in your laundry room, he will be out populating the entire neighborhood.

Be a part of the solution, even if you don’t like cats, you can still support what cat caretakers are doing or your local spay/neuter clinic.

If you are a caretaker, continue to educate yourself, keep your colony area clean and get them fixed!  Feral cats are the “pit bulls” of the cat world.  Through education, compassion and legislation, these dogs have been elevated to beloved dog status, we can do the same with ferals.

I hope this answers some of the questions dogs and humans may have about cats and ferals.  If you or your readers need any further info, we are more than happy to help!  Thank you on behalf of feral and abandoned cats everywhere.

mayport logo

Rumpy: Thank you soooo much for being my guest today! And thanks to Mayport Cats, Inc. for helping all those homeless kitties!

Want to help Mayport Cats, Inc.? You can purchase merchandise or make a donation thru PayPal

The photos used on this post belong to Mayport Cats, Inc., and were used with permission.

31 thoughts on “Mayport Village- Taking Action to Help Homeless Cats!

  1. Thanks so much, Rumpy, for letting me know that such a wonderful organisation and group of people exists. Being a mad cat woman with five rescue cats of my own, I love to hear about people making a huge difference to the lives of cats. If they send to Australia I’ll be buying their cat bow tie collars for my five boys. If they don’t send here I’ll be donating to their amazing cause.

  2. Poor kitties…mom always adopts her kitties from shelters but we don’t want to go overboard so we have 2 and that is enough…at one point she had 4 but that was before she had dogs. Sounds like a great organization!

  3. TNR is sooooo the way to go. I’m involved in it in our local community as well, and it makes a big difference. Yay Mayport!

      1. Sure…but if it is about the TNR program, I wouldn’t have anything different to say than in your current interview. The Village is using a pretty standard (and effective!) model for local TNR programs, which are absolutely the best way to control the population and help both cats and communities!

      2. I’ll wait a few weeks before publishing your interview so it will seem new. But the more stories like this we tell, the more people will believe its doable where they live too!

      3. Let me see if the program coordinator is willing to be interviewed – she is an amazing person, and knows much more than I do (as a volunteer). Is there a good email address to use to contact you?

      4. I’ve sent a note off to Amy…will be in touch.

        But wanted to mention that you might like the post on my own blog from yesterday, No More Fear…on abolishing fear-based training.

  4. How wonderful ” Mayport Cats Inc” is! TNR is one of the fabulous ways to reduce feral cat population, I agree but it’s not popular where I live….of course, mom adopted three poor feral kitties these last 7months and has them inside of our house now, but she can’t adopt all kitties who hang around in our neighborhood. If there is a community like !Mayport Cats Inc, we can save more poor cats here, too! 🙂

  5. It is always a handful of dedicated volunteers who seem to make the biggest difference in a community. A round of applause and a donation for this great work! (thanks for posting the paypal info!)

  6. What a wonderful group of people! It is uplifting to see people caring so much about animals that are not pets, but still need just as much attention and care as those who live with families. If more communities started following Mayport’s example, just think of the difference it could make! Thanks for sharing this with all of us, if was a great way to go into the weekend!

  7. It good to share the wins 🙂 Mayport isn’t a perfect situtation – homes for every cat would be perfect but it’s very close. An intelligent and compassionate solution. Yep, donation coming from here too… if they can walk the talk, it’s the least we can do 🙂

  8. Oh Rumpkin! This is one of your best interviews ever! It says everything a community needs to know to be introduced to TNR. We need a lot more to be done in our community even though we have some very good groups already. Thanks for all you do for the kitties getting the word out there!! Love & loud purring from all of us!

  9. Great interview and lots of information. I would be very dubious about turning over an animal to animal control. In this community — a good example of a small community with little or no resources for dealing with feral or unwanted animals — assuming we have an animal control officer right now (I think we don’t due to budget cuts — they’d send a police officer and dump the poor creature in whatever overcrowded kill shelter would take him. Small, poor communities are like this. We have no resources, no budget. There are usually a few volunteers who do their best, but there are limits. Everyone eventually runs out of room and money. It’s sad.

    1. As undesirable as a kill shelter is, it is more humane than dumping an animal in the wild to fend for itself. An animal that is not used to that lifestyle will die a slow, painful death.

    2. @TeePee12,
      A small community is perfect for a TNR program. TNR actually saves taxpayer dollars when compared to the alternative; euthanizing. Feral cats are also free pest control. Implementing a TNR program is an easy and economically efficient way of reducing a city’s cat population and creates a healthier environment for the cats and community. If we can provide any more info, please contact us. Good luck !
      Tammy
      Mayport Cats.

  10. I agree they are heroes. Of all the things we can do with our lives – this is very noble. Bless them. I am comforted to know such people exist.

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