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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • A happy tail: SPCA, community help Jasper cat lover

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  • JASPER | In November 2013, Doris Stocum’s property in Jasper was swarming with cats.
    Nearly 70 felines - some domesticated, others feral - roamed the area near her house and relied on Stocum for food and shelter.
    Today, approximately 35 cats remain on Stocum’s property, many of which have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped and returned. Most of the other cats have been admitted to the Finger Lakes SPCA or other local shelters.
    The Finger Lakes SPCA, along with community volunteers, veterinary professionals and animal welfare agencies, have been an integral part of helping Stocum care for the cats on her property. Their first task was to provide basic needs for the felines.
    SPCA staff and volunteers began the process by making regular food deliveries to Stocum’s property every 10-14 days.
    Over the course of nearly five months, SPCA volunteers and staff members made two dozen 50-minute round trips to Stocum's home. Bales of straw were also delivered to the property on those trips to help keep the cats warm in their outside enclosures during the winter months.
    Those early visits were also spent assessing the cat population, ranging from the number of cats on the property to their health care needs. A volunteer veterinarian visited the location along with SPCA staff and volunteers to check the health of the population as a whole, as well as the health of individual cats, according to a recent report from the SPCA.
    Once the population had been checked, 34 cats who were tame or in need of immediate medical treatment were taken to the Finger Lakes SPCA or one of its partner shelters for adoption or treatment.
    Thirty-five other cats were spayed or neutered and vaccinated through Trap-Neuter-Return clinics hosted by the SPCA and staffed by Barn Cat Outreach, a non-profit feral cat spay and neuter clinic in Springwater, and Dr. Kim Pinkey and Terri Terwilliger from Eastview Veterinary Clinic in Penn Yan.
    According to Vicki Mosgrove, executive director of the Finger Lakes SPCA, only three cats had to be euthanized due to health issues.
    "The population as a whole was pretty healthy," Mosgrove said. "There were only three from the entire group with significant health problems."
    All in all, the SPCA, contributing shelters and community volunteers have donated nearly 2,000 pounds of dry food, 200 cans of cat food, 23 bales of straw, 20 food bowls and $2,840 to Stocum and her cat population. Local high school students also provided insulated cat shelters for the remaining outdoor cats.
    "They've been excellent help," Stocum said. "They spayed and neutered them, and they brought me food; they really helped me out."
    Stocum estimates that three cats are left on her property that still need to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated; once those animals are treated, the SPCA will begin to decrease its visits while still providing Stocum with the goods she needs to care for her feline population.
    Page 2 of 2 - "The FLSCPA has just helped me beautifully," Stocum said. "They're putting a new building in and I wish people would donate to them because they've helped me alot."
    For more information on how to help Stocum and her cat poulation or donate to the SPCA, visit the organization’s website at www.fingerlakesspca.org.
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