Special to the Tribune
What do businesses do if they have a free-roaming kitten bouncing off the windows and jumping from the balcony because it’s so freaked out from being trapped inside the building (after walking in on its own accord)? Well, in the case of Amtrak-Martinez last week, they contacted Outcast Cat Help after getting little help from Contra Costa Animal Services Department.
For years, there have been cats at the Amtrak-Martinez station. For years, animal rescuers (including Outcast Cat Help) worked to control and reduce the population by trapping, neutering and returning (TNR) these cats. Often travelers would contact us about the existence of cats there. We would explain that the cats are fixed and being cared for by good samaritans. If they are not seeing kittens, then the process is working.
It’s been nine years since any kittens were born at the Amtrak-Martinez station. That’s a long time to keep the population under control. One of the most crucial elements to successful TNR are the caretakers. Caretakers need to provide the food during the same daylight time period daily. They need to stay and observe what cats come to eat so that new cats can be identified for reunion, rehoming or TNR.
The problem with public areas like the Amtrak-Martinez station is that there are a lot of food sources: the dumpsters, the garbage cans, compassionate people leaving food for the cats, etc. It can be difficult to get these food sources under enough control so that caretakers can know when a new cat arrives – all it takes is one pregnant female!
For years these animal rescuers and good samaritans have done an amazing job. But what if the City of Martinez was to get involved? What if there were signs stating that TNR is being conducted there and if someone wants to become involved, here’s who to contact? There could be approved feeding stations in discrete areas close to shelter for the cats. This is how the problem will ultimately be controlled.
But until that time, citizens will continue to address the problem. The wonderful Amtrak-Martinez station staff have informed us of the existence of two more kittens (outside of the building) and rescuers will be trying to track down the mom, who of course is the root of the problem.
To address cat overpopulation, “it takes a village.” We just wonder when our city bureaucrats will decide that there’s a problem and choose to become involved.