This is part of a weekly series that highlights a grant provided by the Foundation.
In 2005, Donna Herrmann heard about a local foreclosed house where 120 cats were left behind by their owners.
“We knew that those cats would be put down. Nobody had the resources to care for them,” Herrmann said. “It bothered me. I couldn’t stand the thought of 100 cats being killed because there was no place for them. So we decided to be that place.”
Overnight, in order to save the cats, she converted her garage into a rescue. And that’s how the Hundred Cat Foundation, which Herrmann is president of, was formed.
Tonight, a documentary created by Penn State film professor Lyn Elliot and two of her students will showcase what the Hundred Cat Foundation does to decrease the number of feral cats (the wild descendents of domesticated cats) in Centre County.
“Feral Fixation: The Hundred Cat Foundation’s Efforts to End Feline Overpopulation in Central PA” will be shown at 7 tonight on Penn State’s campus in the Carnegie Building Cinema, Room 113.
A big part of what the organization does to end feline overpopulation involves Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR), which reduces the cat population humanely over time by stopping feral cats from breeding. This also reduces the number of cats that are euthanized in shelters and prevents feral cats from fighting and spreading disease.
Though there are other shelters in the area that care for animals, like the ASPCA and Centre County PAWS, the Hundred Cat Foundation saw that there was a need for TNR that wasn’t being adequately met.
Herrmann said she doesn’t think people are fully aware of how bad of a problem feral cats are in Centre County, an area that has the dual problem of college students abandoning their cats when they leave town, AND the problem of farmers breeding more barn cats than they need.
So the Hundred Cat Foundation stepped in, holding their first TNR clinic in June 2009. Since then, they’ve held 17 more high quality, high volume clinics, in which veterinarians often participate for little or no compensation.
In the beginning, the organization had to borrow many surgical materials from other groups, but last year a grant from the Centre County Community Foundation enabled them to buy their own anesthesia machine, which has made holding the clinics much easier.
In the past three years, more than 1500 cats have been altered through the group’s TNR program. But there is always more to do. A steady flow of people have continued to report feral cats to the group since its inception. Their spay/neuter waiting list is 200 cats-strong right now, though it’s been as high as 600 in the past. Herrmann expects it to take about four months to work their way through the current waiting list.
And The Hundred Cat Foundation does all this without a single paid employee. The organization is entirely made up of volunteers. Volunteers supervise the trapping and transporting of cats, assist people who are caring for feral cat colonies, act as foster parents for adoptable cats, find homes for those cats and help raise awareness of the group’s mission and its activities.
“We do basically everything but the surgery,” Herrmann said.
Herrmann hopes people will come to watch the documentary tonight, and that it will inspire them to get involved with the Hundred Cat Foundation’s cause.
“The film tells the story for potential volunteers,” Herrmann said. “We want to make people more aware of the feral cat situation and of what we’re doing to solve it. Whether they want to donate or volunteer. It’s an awareness tool.”
Check out their website to find more information about Trap/Neater/Return and to find out how to volunteer or donate. And don’t forget to stop by the Carnegie Building Cinema tonight at 7 to learn more about what the Hundred Cat Foundation does!