Chloe Boburka, 9, Marinette, cares Thursday for one of the 65 cats at that Menominee Animal Shelter. She volunteers at the shelter every week. EaglHerald/Rick Gebhard
Chloe Boburka, 9, Marinette, cares Thursday for one of the 65 cats at that Menominee Animal Shelter. She volunteers at the shelter every week.
EaglHerald/Rick Gebhard
MENOMINEE - Cats are no longer being accepted at the Menominee Animal Shelter. The reason? Because there are currently 65 cats already being cared for at the shelter with 110 more on the waiting list to get in. It's almost like being on the waiting list for Packer season tickets.

"When one gets adopted we call somebody else and say you can bring your cat in," said shelter director Nancy Dechert.

The shelter doesn't like turning away pets but it's happening right now out of necessity. People bringing their cats in are surprised to learn of the overpopulation problem. Some are understanding, others are not.

"They get very mad at us. They don't understand," said Dechert. "It's like, 'I'm moving, what am I supposed to do with it?'"

Dechert suggested people give the shelter more notice if they know they'll be moving and need to place their cat. Otherwise they should explore family members and friends.

"They don't want us to put it to sleep but they want us to do something," she said. "People are going to have to start taking responsibility for their own pets. The community has to sit down and try to figure out a solution to this problem."

The problem according to Dechert is two-fold, first there's a growing number of cats that aren't being spayed or neutered and two, a phenomenon known as community cats.

"It's where one cat gets out, has kittens and then they just go to someone's house," explained Dechert. "People feel bad, they don't take the cats in but they feed them. They just kind of belong to the community and they're fed at two or three different houses and they keep reproducing."

Dechert said one thing that has worked in other communities is having local groups adopt a community cat. They raise money to have it spayed or neutered and put it back on the street. She said if enough groups were able to have that done to enough cats, it would cut down on the population explosion. The thought is, new cats would not enter the territory already established by the original group.

"If you round up all those cats and you take them in have them put to sleep or drop them all off at the shelter, new cats will just come in and fill up those spots so you didn't solve the problem," she said. "If you take those cats, get them fixed and put them back in that spot, they're not going to grow because they're not reproducing, but other cats aren't going to come in because that spot is occupied."

Dechert says the process takes a long time to run its course but it has proven to be effective if the whole community gets involved.

Feeding all the animals takes a bite out of the shelter budget. Currently the facility is in need of kitten food, preferably Purina Kitten Chow. If anyone wished to make a donation, they can call the shelter at 906-864-7297. There are also a couple of fundraising events going on. One today, another next Saturday.

The third annual Paws Ride will be held today. Registration for the poker run ride is from 9:30 until 11 a.m. at the Corner Grille on Highway 180. The cost is $10 per bike, $5 per passenger and $5 per poker hand. The ride ends at 5 p.m. at the Corner Grille. A 50/50 raffle will also be held along with a meet and greet of some of the shelter pets.

On Aug. 24, A&E Jewelers of Marinette will feature some of the pets up for adoption at its store from noon until 3 p.m. People stopping in can register for a paw pendant and donations of money or pet food will get you a $25 gift card from A&E.