Kitty Overpopulation Cure: Tomcat Condoms?

Animal Advocates Promote Spay-Neutering Campaign

"Tomcat Condoms" to combat Colorado's kitty population explosion?

The Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance admits they're sending out the dime-size "condoms" as a joke but it is meant to highlight a serious problem -- the feline litters clogging animal shelters statewide.

In 2008, some 24,000 cats were euthanized in Colorado because they had no home, the alliance said.

The alliance's solution is the "Beat The Heat" campaign to promote The Feline Fix, the state's first high-volume, high-quality, spay and neutering clinic in Denver.

The Tomcat Condoms are packaged with the slogan "Prevent A Litter Cover Your Critter," and information on how spaying and neutering can prevent unwanted litters.

The Feline Fix notched its first year anniversary this month. Its goal: to double the alliance's annually spay and neutering procedures to 6,000 and prevent up to 45,000 homeless kitten births each year in Colorado.

The alliance said it will knock $5 off its surgery fees ($35 for tame cats, $20 for feral cats) for "cat guardians" who mention "Beat The Heat" when making a reservation at 303-202-3516 or www.rmaca.org.

"Because there are more kittens born in the warm weather months, we're making a big push for surgeries to really make a dent in the metro area's cat overpopulation problem," said Amy Angelilli, the executive director the alliance.

"Through this increase in surgeries, we hope to see fewer homeless cats entering municipal animal shelters, which lowers the cat euthanasia rate and saves taxpayers dollars," she added.

Overcrowded shelters in Colorado -- and across the country -- have led to a 70 percent cat euthanasia rate, according to the Humane Society.

Colorado animal shelters say the bad economy is compounding overcrowding as pet owners are forced to move or struggle to pay bills.

The Denver Dumb Friends League shelter is filled with nearly 800 cats. To address what officials call the "cat crisis," the league is waiving all adoption fees for cats and kittens through Aug. 31. Each cat will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and implanted with microchip IDs as part of the free adoption deal.

"We do think the economy is playing a role in this," said League spokeswoman Michelle Ray.

"But obviously the bigger issue that we're seeing is pet overpopulation, because the numbers of cats we're taking in is nearly double what we saw at the same time last year."