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Cat trappers fix feral felines and return them to the wild

If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, you know they can be a major headache, what with the loud cat fighting and territorial spraying. 

In Grays Harbor County, two women have taken it upon themselves to fix the problem, literally. They trap cats in order to get them spayed or neutered. They then release them back where they came from.

Aimee Stambach and Jamie Pederson drive the side streets of Aberdeen and Hoquiam looking for feral cat colonies. Both say trap neuter release, or TNR as the practice is known, is the best way to stop cat overpopulation. 

They transport the trapped cats 700 miles round trip to be fixed at the Feral Cat Spay/ Neuter Clinic  in Lynnwood.

Stray but loved

The two women  say  what they do is as much about helping people as animals because the people who feed feral cats care for them as much as if they were tame.

Pederson says she's seen first-hand the healing power such animals can have. She has a foster daughter who recently lost her mother in a house fire.  She says the girl bonded with a stray cat that no one else wanted.

"I truly believe this cat saved this girl's life. It stuck by her side. When she cries, it sits on her bed and licks her face," Pederson said.

The women, who call themselves Grays Harbor Spay & Neuter Project, have managed to trap 3,000 cats in 2 years and believe they are making a difference. It's an all volunteer project. Each month, Stambach and Pederson each spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on TNR.

For Aimee Stambach it's a satisfying, if exhausting endeavor.

"I wake up in the morning and I have a purpose. Not everyone can say that," she said.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.