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Las Vegas’ kitten season bringing headaches for local groups

Kitten season in the feral cat community of Clark County means a multiplied headache for one organization committed to trapping, neutering and returning homeless felines.

C5, which stands for the Community Cat Coalition of Clark County, is in the thick of kitten season and looking for volunteers to serve as trappers.

The nonprofit group organizes free spay and neutering services, as outlined by a Clark County ordinance, and support for its volunteers, who often tend to colonies in their neighborhoods out of their own pocket, C5 director Keith Williams said.

“We are supporting people who want to work with the cats,” he said.

About 250,000 feral cats make homes on county streets, and C5 has treated 4,922 of them since the ordinance was enacted in October 2008. Volunteers help identify and trap colonies, which are then transported to Heaven Can Wait Sanctuary, 6492 Pine St., where they are vaccinated and sterilized. They’re then returned to the areas where they were trapped.

About 118 projects are active, and Williams is looking for trappers to take on 46 projects in waiting.

“The way projects get into our trapping queue is that a citizen will call and say, ‘Hey, we have cats in our yard,’ ” he said. “We collect basic info, where they are located and those projects go in our unclaimed section of the queue.”

More than half of the organization’s 40 volunteers are trappers. Those interested in joining the ranks will be trained via C5 and then will shadow one of the current trappers.

Marcia Lozon was introduced to trap, neuter and return practices when a mother cat and four babies popped up behind her barbecue grill one day.

She became a C5 trapper around when the organization started.

“Everybody calls me a master trapper, and there is no science to it,” she said.

C5 uses 32-inch, square mesh traps, but Lozon has been known to use old-fashioned drop traps, too .

“I usually work with the people feeding the cats and have them withhold food for 24 hours so the cats are a little hungry,” she said. “I offer up some stinky bait, and I can usually get them.”

C5’s mission isn’t to burden shelters or just to dump the cats to another neighborhood.

“That’s just taking your problem and making it someone else’s problem,” Williams said.

Some weeks, Lozon devotes three to four nights to trapping, and she has trapped up to 60 cats in one month. Although she keeps an eye on the original five cats and one house cat, she considers herself a dog person.

“I have a great appreciation for cats,” Lozon said. “They’re very tenacious. They have unbelievable survival skills given their circumstances, which are often not their fault.”

None of the ferals Lozon has in her yard has had offspring. A fellow colony manager has about 20 cats but hasn’t produced a kitten in five years thanks to trap, neuter and release efforts, Williams said.

“We’re finding, the bottom line is, it works,” Williams said. “At the scale we’re able to operate, we are seeing very good results. We’re taking a world of trouble and turning it into a retirement colony for the cats.”

For more information or to donate, visit c5-tnr.org or call 582-5867.

Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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