HANNIBAL | A surge in the area's cat population this season has caused the cat kennel to reach capacity at the Northeast Missouri Humane Society, and a barn cat adoption program is in full swing to help find forever homes for cats who might be a perfect fit for places like barns or warehouses.
NEMOHS Executive Director Janet Adrian Smith said many of the cats were outside cats to begin with, or they don't crave human interaction as much as some other cats do. Smith stressed the cats are not feral or mean. Each cat receives a rabies shot, is dewormed and spayed or neutered, and barn cats are available for adoption with a small donation.
Smith said many more kittens arrived at the shelter as young as six weeks old this year, and shelter staff members like Cat Kennel Technician Erin Matson have been busy caring for the babies until they are old enough to be adopted.
Smith said barn cats are excellent for open spaces like barns, where they can interact with people and then go about their own business.
“They want to be petted, and then they want to do their own thing,” Smith said. “They're just very independent.”
Growing cat populations are an issue in Hannibal and communities across the nation, and Smith reminded residents about their Spay-Neuter AssistanceProgram and Trap, which provides financial assistance for the services. Also, Smith recently received approval from the Hannibal City Council to move forward with the Trap, Neuter and Release program, where citizens can trap a cat in their yard or other nearby area so NEMOHS staff members can neuter or spay it, then release it. So far, Smith is awaiting shipment of the traps for the program to reach the next stage and measure the impact down the road on cat populations in the community.
Smith encouraged anyone interested in adopting a barn cat to call the shelter at 573-221-9222 to schedule an appointment. Smith said face masks are on hand for anyone who doesn't have one, and shelter staff is practicing social distancing and face mask guidelines to protect the public and staff members.