The phenomenon continues to develop in Foix. Stray cats reproduce and create real colonies. The association Aristo’Foix, in collaboration with the town hall, is leading a significant fight to curb the problem.
For two and a half years, the association Aristo’Foix, based in the county town, has pursued its primary goal: to reduce the spread of stray cats as much as possible. An essential work to frame a phenomenon that can quickly become uncontrollable. “It is very difficult, especially in the Foix-Varilhes urban area. If no one does anything, the spread will be bigger and bigger and faster. One cat means three litters a year for 5 to 6 small children. In Foix at the Espinet bridge there are a colony of a dozen cats. This can grow to such an extent that nothing more can be done”, warns Céline Baccou, president of Aristo’Foix.
Three code words for the association: sterilize, treat and feed. Instructions which, if followed, should make it possible to limit the damage. “Initially we trap them when we get a report. We then make an appointment with a vet to sterilize the animal before keeping it under observation to make sure it has no health problems. We then release it at that location , where the trap is before it is fed. When it is finished, everything improves. We quickly feel the benefits of the operation”, explains Céline Baccou. Another problem is that there is no shelter for cats in the urban community of Foix. A construction project that Aristo’Foix is trying to promote.
In Foix, the association found at least 120 stray cats from different colonies and in different neighborhoods. And the damage can be significant. “Stray cats do their business everywhere to mark their territory. They also attack domestic cats and are very hungry, they bark. To give an example, in a neighborhood at Mercus there was insecurity, residents no longer left their homes because there so many cats around the bins”, she says. Each cat is identified and first vaccinated by the association, and some are adopted. This year, 75 cats were sterilized against just over 100 in 2021. A decrease due to the impossibility of making more appointments with a veterinary practice. This summer, in two months, the association could only make two hires. Too little to slow down the development of stray cats.
Necessary collective work
With knowledge of this problem, the town hall in the Foix association comes to the rescue. Valuable support. “We asked for a grant from the town hall, which mayor Norbert Meler immediately accepted. We are lucky compared to other municipalities. They lent us a lot of equipment to be able to catch, transport or treat the cats that we collect.” , says Céline Baccou.
And within the association itself, everyone has a role to play. The system is well run. “We have entered into a collaboration with the Foix veterinary clinic for sterilization. For care, identification and vaccination, we have other partners, such as the Mas clinic in Pamiers. We also have a volunteer per municipality, and we collect food every month. Fortunately, we have volunteers to remain alert and act quickly,” explains the association’s chairman, who has even started trap training in other neighboring municipalities. . According to her, more and more associations in the department are developing and taking this phenomenon seriously. The municipalities also received an additional state grant.
“I think we can reach the end. But everyone has to move on, not just the town hall in Foix, but also the neighboring towns. There is a need to take responsibility, otherwise it could become a big health problem. Some mayors do nothing,” says Celine Baccou.
A battle well fought in Foix, which aims to expand to the surrounding area, for the well-being of the animals and a respected living environment.