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La Crescent Animal Rescue starts free outdoor cat program

Kaitlyn Riley

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Although the cats are free, the shelter is accepting donations in return.

La Crescent Animal Rescue has a new program that could be the cat’s meow for people with pest problems.

Nancy Strelow, vice president on the board of directors, said they have had a feral cat population outside their shelter for years. They typically trap, spay or neuter, vaccinate and release the cats.

“It seems to be an ongoing, rollercoaster situation,” Strelow said. “When it is 20 below outside and people come up to our shelter and say, ‘uh, there is a cat out here,’ and we have to say, ‘Yeah, we know, they live here.’ It is not a perfect situation.”

Realizing these wild cats are perfect for farms or certain businesses, the shelter decided to give them away for free. They are not suitable for a home setting, but Strelow said they can help keep rodents at bay.

“We feed them minimally at the shelter, the feral cats, because they do hunt,” Strelow said. “Having cats in the barn, in the stable, in the shed, even in a commercial setting would eliminate a lot of the rodent population.”

Strelow said volunteers can deliver the cat within a reasonable distance from the shelter. They ask the new owners to keep the cat in a crate for three weeks so it knows where it lives before it is released.

Although the cats are free, the shelter is accepting donations in return.

Those interested can call the shelter at 507-895-2066. Arrangements would be made to visit the farm or property with the cat and speak with potential adopters. If approved the local is approved, the cat would stay.

They hope to have new homes for the cats before winter.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.