For The Love of Ferals!

January 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Milton Project

The Milton Project is the feral cat Trap-Neuter-Return program of Coastal Pet Rescue. They strive to end the overpopulation of feral cats in the Savannah GA area by assisting caretakers in practicing TNR, registering colonies to track progress of spay/neuter, offer caretaker colony management tips and assistance.

by Guest Writer and Milton Project Volunteer Marie Regina Posey-Rodriguez

Being in the veterinarian business most of my adult life and a pet sitter on the Islands for 18 plus years, pets have always been my passion.

During 2009, I decided that I wanted to volunteer full time with an organization where I could make a difference with animals and in my community. After looking at several groups I decided to volunteer with The Milton Project which has always been close to my heart. If you’ve driven by my house on Jones Avenue when I am cleaning cat traps you’ve probably asked yourself “What in the heck is she doing?”  I am considered the area captain and trapper for Tybee Island.

The Milton Project was founded in 2004 to address the overwhelming number of free-roaming/feral cats in the Savannah area. Since that time volunteers have trapped more than 1,400 cats through the process of Trap-Neuter Return. You are probably asking yourself, what is Trap Neuter Return? Trap Neuter Return is a humane method of controlling the feral cat population. It consists of humanely trapping a cat in a specially designed trap, then taking the cat to have them spayed/neutered to halt reproduction, giving them a 3 year rabies vaccination, having their ear “tipped” and returning the cat back to its location. The Milton Project provides the equipment, tips for trapping and feral cat management expertise.

Photo is of left, Sherri Montgomery, Founder of the Milton Project, and right, Marie Regina Posey-Rodriquez

All trappers for the Milton Project are volunteers. Trapping is usually done on the weekends so cats can be transported to a holding house for pick up by SNAC on Mondays or transported to the Humane Society where they also help us with spaying and neutering. I have chosen to trap on Sundays so the cats only have to be held overnight before surgery.

The Milton Project is run by an wonderful lady, Sherry Montgomery. She is “officially” known as the Coordinator, but Sherry does just about everything for the organization in spite of having a full time job. Sherry takes in the calls, decides what to do with each call, coordinates the appointment schedule for the weekly pickups, delegates trapping duties to volunteers and most of the time does the trapping herself. When she is not thinking of fund raising ideas, working with government agencies or working on grant applications; there is filing, accounts payable/receivables and anything else you can think of in running a volunteer organization.

Tybee Island has been awesome in helping raise money for the Milton Project. The Annual Sock Hop and silent auction raises money that helps Tybee residents get their ferals and strays “speutered”. If anyone has ever been lucky enough to see The Girlfriends performing then you know how blessed we are that they not only perform at our Sock Hop but do several fundraisers throughout the year for us too. We also had a very successful Boston Butt Fundraiser in 2009 and have planned another sale around Easter.

How can you help? We are always looking for volunteers to help with trapping, assist caretakers with feeding, grant writing and raising funds. Don’t have the time to volunteer,  then consider making a donation; does a friend have a birthday coming up? Sponsor a spay or neuter in their honor.

We are also always in need the following items:
Doggie Training Pads – (or chucks) are placed between traps when stacked in the holding area to prevent soiling from another trap.

Canned Mackerel and Tuna- favorite used for bait for trapping of feral cats.

Dry Food, Clumping Litter and Fancy Feast canned food – Each cat gets a can of Fancy Feast while being held before transport.  Dry food and litter are used to help feed feral colonies and domestic kitten’s cats that have been placed into our adoption program.

Large Bath towels and sheets – are used to cover the cage of a trapped feral cat. Covering the cats usually calms down the trapped cat in a trap.

Lastly, if you have a cat that has passed away we also take donations of cat carriers, cat food, flea preventative or if your cat didn’t like their new food – we accept open bags and packages of litter (clumping only) etc. If you are not sure if we can use it or not, you are welcome to drop it off at my house and if it is something we can use, we will. My address is 713 Jones Avenue here on Tybee and contact info for the Milton Project is 912 228 3538.

Interesting Feral Cat Facts:

An unaltered male’s territory can be up to 150 acres
One female cat can be responsible for the creation of 99 cats over a 7 year period
Trap-Neuter Return is the only proven method of managing feral cat colonies
There are more than 35,000 feral cats in Savannah
The biggest threat to bird populations is not ferals but development by humans.

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