Local animal group C5 reaches its 50,000th free-roaming cat

This undated photo provided by Community Cat Coalition of Clark County (C5) shows the 50,000th ...

The Community Cat Coalition of Clark County (C5) has trapped, neutered and returned their 50,000th free-roaming or feral cat in the Las Vegas Valley.

Keith Williams, president of C5, founded in June 2009, said the organization was formed in response to Clark County’s 2008 Managed Care of Feral Cats ordinance that gave individuals the ability to carry out TNR programs.

Williams worked for Clark County as a central sponsor, managing the registration of cat colonies and calls from Clark County Animal Control about free-roaming cats for several years. He noticed a service gap for people who wanted free-roaming cats to be trapped, neutered and returned, he said.

From there, Williams formed the nonprofit with local colony caretakers — individuals who care for free-roaming cats near their homes and businesses — to support one another in improving the lives of feral and free-roaming cats. Today, the nonprofit has grown to 64 volunteers, Williams said.

Williams said mortality rates for feral and free-roaming kittens is “frightfully high.”

If you want to look at the real death and suffering with cats in our community, it’s not in the shelter. It’s happening out on the streets,” Williams said.

A 2004 study from North Carolina State University found that 75 percent of kittens from feral cat colonies died or disappeared before six months old.

“That’s one of the reasons we’ve chosen (to) we put our resources out on the street where the animals live, and to help the people who care for the cats, want to have them around, want to do the responsible thing and manage them responsibly,” Williams said.

C5 takes cats who have been trapped to Heaven Can Wait Animal Society to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear-tipped before returning to the outdoors. Heaven Can Wait has worked with C5 since their start in 2009, according to a C5 news release.

Cat euthanasia declined by over 95 percent between 2009 to 2021, from 18,500 cats to less than a thousand cats in 2021, according to C5. The organization claims their TNR efforts have helped these numbers decline.

“If they’re not born, you don’t have to worry about rescuing them or having them euthanized; it’s a proactive approach,” Williams said. “… Our biggest focus is solving the problem rather than chasing the symptoms.”

Williams said several groups across the country have contacted the organization for advice on how to replicate C5’s efforts in their state.

“One of my goals in doing this is to create a model that can be reproduced other places so that the success we’ve have doesn’t end here,” Williams said.

Williams said C5 is always looking for volunteers and donations to help with the organization’s efforts.

Contact Taylor Lane at tlane@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tmflane on Twitter.