Tarkara Hawkins was driving one day near the intersection of West 4th and Garfield Street one day and noticed something odd: a collection of over 20 stay cats walking around.

Hawkins, a former Junction City Animal Shelter employee, had known about Junction City’s issues with stray cats for a while but that did it. She wanted to do something to help and thus, Spays for Strays was born.

“The idea was to try and trap and neuter as many stray cats as we can,” Hawkins said. “If they can’t reproduce, eventually the stray number will decrease.”

Areas like Sheridan Elementary School, Grant Avenue and East Third Street were also brought up by Hawkins as places in town with a high volume of stray cats.

According to the organization’s Facebook page: On average, a cat can have three litters of kittens per year with four kittens per litter. Female cats can reproduce basically throughout their entire life meaning they can have kittens for 12-15 years. That means one female cat could possibly have 180 kittens in a lifetime.

So Hawkins and some friends have started to set humane traps for the strays, taking them in and then helping them rehabilitate from diseases like ringworm or injuries sustained out in the wild and eventually will set up appointments to get them spayed.

Hawkins hopes that after the strays are spayed, she might be able to find homes for them but understands that some will have to go back on street.

The first group of strays is already rehabilitating at Hawkins’ home and she hopes to get them spayed sometime in October.

Spays for Strays is open to help from the outside community.

“We have an account at Town and Country Veterinary Clinic and any one can call and put money on it and those funds will go to the surgeries and vaccinations for the strays,” Hawkins said.

People can also donate cat traps or get ahold of the organization Friends with Animals which is also helping Spays for Strays financially with their mission.

Those interested can visit the Spays for Strays Facebook page for more information and regular updates on their current batch of soon-to-be-spayed strays.

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