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Rita Leistritz, Published October 13 2010

Midnight Louie meets PAAWS

When we moved into our new home along the Sheyenne River several years ago, “Midnight Louie” was hanging out on the snowbank. Louie ran when we would go outside. Come spring, he was joined by his first wife and their new family of five kittens; later that summer, his second wife and another new litter of kittens showed up.

My husband and I didn’t like the math, so we called around to see who could help us capture these feral cats. The answer was a fledgling group of animal lovers who were just organizing Minn-Kota PAAWS. They brought traps and bait, capturing Midnight Louie, his wives and kids over the next few weeks. All the adults were spayed/neutered and released behind our house, and the small kittens were kept to be socialized and adopted.

The cost of the surgeries was a fraction of local vet costs, and, at that time, local vet clinics did not want to handle feral cats in their facilities. (I don’t know if that is true now.)

Over the years, we have watched these cats from a distance playing in the trees, not fighting over females in heat or caterwauling in the dead of night – and no more litters! Having the cats around the property seems to have kept the mice population down and the squirrels and rabbits from our garden.

We applaud PAAWS’ dedication to their cause and hope that city officials can agree to support their attempts to trap and provide surgery for stray/feral animals. PAAWS operates on a shoestring budget with a number of dedicated volunteers.

Spaying/neutering healthy but feral cats is an indication of our humanity, the best way to lower the number of unwanted cats/cat fighting/diseased animals in our neighborhoods, and a bargain for taxpayers.