More than 30 cats and kittens living on the Las Vegas streets won life’s stray cat jackpot last month. Joe Hamrock and 6 volunteers with the Community Cat Coalition of Clark County, or C5, were there to deal out fates hand. Catherine, an executive manager at the Silverton Casino & Hotel, had contacted the group about their TNR program. She needed help with a feral cat colony near the property–a very large one! For 3 days, the group dedicated themselves to catching all the cats they could. In total, they were able to catch a staggering number of stray and feral cats.
During the 72 hours, they trapped 22 adult cats and discovered 10 kittens/newborns at the location!
Many of the volunteers had been aware of the colony and ongoing breeding issue at the casino. From the nearby highway, you can easily see cats roaming day and night. This isn’t the first time trappers have been to the area either.
Thank you!! I was taking care of about 10 strays over near there (Blue Diamond/Rainbow) and was able to trap all of them with your TNR program. Wish I could save them all!! ~ Facebook @C5TNR,Tina Moore Martinez
The location has the purrfect hiding spots for a colony to survive. There are numerous tunnels under the roadways to provide safety from vehicles and weather. There are also 6 restaurants operating in the casino, meaning plenty of food scraps. And plenty of cats, making more cats, who make more cats…and so on.
Traps were placed in dark locations in and around the drainage tunnels. They knew for the good of the felines, they needed to get them off the streets. Any that were friendly would be adopted out, along with the kittens. Others who were found to be feral would be returned to the location and cared for as a colony again. There were a couple of people at the location during the trapping efforts that didn’t see eye to eye with the rescue group.
The Silverton Hotel security team and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department had to be called on the very first night.
While the cats clearly ran rampant around the location, a few homeless individuals also shared their residence. They were very protective of the felines, who had become family to them. It is heartbreaking to see humans in unfortunate circumstances still placing others needs above their own.
Everyone wanted what was best for the cats, but everyone has very different perspectives. One homeless man was arrested on the first evening. Another woman named Mary has been living in the tunnels for years, taking care of the cats as best as she could.
That lady you had to deal with has heated sleeping bags for the kitties. She’s been there for years and really believes they are hers.
Sadly, Mary is mentally ill and suffering from a devastating drug addiction.
She has had run-in’s with animal rescuers and feeders for years. For the C5 team, this situation was no different.
We explained to her what we were going to do. The cats would be returned on Wednesday so she could continue feeding. All three nights she caused a scene and even physically came at us and threw our traps around. It was a real disaster.
It’s difficult to keep tension and stress out of TNR. With added outside influences like poor Mary acting against you, it can deter caretakers and trappers from the areas. Messages on Joe’s Facebook post sharing the successful trapping numbers, showed exactly that.
She tried to knock a friend’s side mirror off their SUV a few years ago. I used to go with a friend that trapped there years ago.
Damn… We trapped about 30 there summer before last… We also got attacked by “crazy Meth Mary”. I’m glad you guys are there but I hate that nothing has changed.
For now, these cats have at least ended a number of breeding possibilities in the colony.
If not already reserved, the 10 kittens in foster care now and will be put up for adoption soon. There were 8 of the adult cats who are friendly enough to be adopted too. It’s always bittersweet when these felines are found. It’s a great thing they can be safe indoors, but sad that they may have been previously dumped.
The feral cats will be returned only because there are others besides Mary the can rely on for food.
Hopefully she will see that the team was there to help, allowing them back without incident. Large groups of cats require lots of food–which requires money. Not to mention the medical bills that can add up when they need care.
Joe, C5 volunteers and all the other local trappers will continue to tackle the feral issue in Las Vegas. That means helping educate and work with those currently caring for the cats. Whether they have a roof over their heads or not.
“I’ve been trapping for 17 years. C5 has been around since 2009, and as a group, we’ve trapped over 35,000 cats. A staggering number!”~ Joe Hamrock
Joe’s stats for March 2019 are pretty impressive themselves!
- 67 cats & kittens total rescued!
- 18 cats & kittens off the street, to vet care / foster / adoption
- 10 friendly / owned cats fixed for low-income people
- 4 sick / injured / matted cats to medical care
- 35 feral cats TNR’d and returned to colonies =^..^=
Community Cat Coalition of Clark County’s social media pages are full of felines given new lives each day. Thank you to each and every one of them for taking action and saving lives, but please be safe out there! #CatLoversUnite