KILLEEN, Texas — Crowding in animal shelters across Central Texas is causing a strain on its staff, which can be overwhelming to say the least.
However, one non-profit organization is working to change that. The idea is to lighten the load by spaying and neutering cats.
It may sound simple, however, the founder of Snip and Tip, Cody Courtain, says it is making a big difference.
His most rewarding days are those that begin with cats.
"This is a tomcat that we just trapped,” said Courtain. “He will go back, get prepared for surgery tomorrow. He'll be fixed. He’ll recover overnight and then he'll be released back here.”
Growing up in a very rural town, Courtain says kittens were a way of life.
"I was always bringing kittens home,” said Courtain. “I would, you know, wake up every two hours for new born kittens and try and bottle feed them.”
Courtain launched Snip and Tip a few years ago. The Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) nonprofit is based in Killeen, serving Bell and Coryell counties.
"So, basically we set traps out. We trap the cats. We work with veterinary partners. Get them spayed, neutered, vaccinated. We hold them until they recover from surgery, and then we put them back where they came from and their caretakers continue to feed and shelter them.”
Stacy says her area is pretty popular for dumping animals. When she did not have the funds for cat food, Courtain stepped in.
"Because I ran out of cat food and I was asking for help,” Stacy said. “It was right when the pandemic started and they hooked me up with him.”
It is all about controlling the cat population.
"All the animals have to be sterilized that I'm feeding, so we're not just creating a bigger problem,” Courtain explained.
He does this through donations, something he says the nonprofit badly needs to keep even more cats out of the already-crowded shelters in the area, helping Texans like Mary.
"I mean we’d have had hundreds out here if Cody hadn't fixed those 72 cats,” Mary said. “Had we had a normal kitten spring out here, they would have been everywhere and they would have been sick and it would have just been horrible.”
Although the long days are not easy, Courtain says they are worth it.
"What if through spay and neuter we made it where there never was an animal to rescue [and] there were less animals in our shelter system that needed to be adopted?” Courtain said.
To donate to Snip and Tip’s efforts, contact Courtain by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 254-780-7951.