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Feline population control mission underway

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ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) — What began with a love of cats and a desire to foster kittens has become Ashleigh Bello’s year-round mission to reduce the community’s feral cat population.

“We have to get to the root of the problem,” Bello told FOX Carolina. “That’s where ‘TNR’ was born.”

“TNR” stands for Trap, Neuter (or Neuter) and Release – the process that Bello’s non-profit organization, Chiquitin’s Cat Project, Inc., follows whenever it is asked for help.

Bello said there are many volunteers and several groups that focus on specific colonies or areas where feral cats live. She said TNR has been used in dozens of settlements across the county.

“We will be getting requests from people who have a colony in their home or downtown where there’s a bunch of cats that need to be neutered,” Bello said.

Bello said a female cat that is not neutered can go into heat two to three times a year, and over a seven-year period that same female cat and her offspring can produce almost 5,000 kittens.

Cats trapped by Chiquitin’s Cat Project are taken to the local shelter, Anderson County PAWS, which neuters and neuters the animals for free. The non-profit organization relies on donations to feed and provide veterinary care to the cats once they return to their colony.