Animal shelter works to decrease growing population of cats in Buffalo County

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - There's an overpopulation of stray and feral cats in Buffalo County, but a Kearney shelter is stepping in to bring those numbers down.

The Kearney Area Animal Shelter hosted their first ever "Spay and Neuter Day" Sunday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds. The goal is to reduce the growing population of stray and feral cats in the county. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

The Kearney Area Animal Shelter hosted their first ever "Spay and Neuter Day" Sunday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds.

The event was targeted at low-income families as well as homeless cats. People brought in around 175 cats to be spayed or neutered. Each person paid $20 to get their cat fixed and a rabies shot.

Everyone working the event volunteered their time. Volunteers and staff from the shelter organized and comforted the cats before they got fixed. Eight veterinarians from Cottonwood Vet Clinic, West Villa Animal Hospital and Hilltop Pet Clinic performed the surgeries.

In 2019, the shelter housed a record number of cats and kittens, taking in more than 600.

"We get calls, multiple calls a day about the stray cats in Kearney and Buffalo County, we take all the stray animals from Buffalo County. But we can only take so many, because we only have so many kennels. When we are completely full we have to turn people away," said Olivia Derr, executive director of the Kearney Area Animal Shelter.

Derr said that's when they decided to host the "Spade and Neuter Day." She said the only way they can control the population is to spay and neuter the cats so they can't reproduce anymore.

Derr said they're also hoping it'll help cut down on the spread of diseases like ringworm and ear mites.

She said it'll take a few more of these events to actually balance out the feral and stray cat population. The shelter is looking at hosting another one of the events in the future. Derr said they're hoping to have one in the fall.

If you find a cat in Buffalo County, you can call the shelter at 308-237-7387.