VIENNA - A local pet store is teaming up with a program to feed feral cats to hold pet photos with Santa Claus this weekend.
Pet Supplies Plus at 605 Grand Central Ave. will give all proceeds of the photograph sales to the Save a Kitty Feral Cat Program, said Bobette Grimm, spokeswoman for Save a Kitty Feral Cat Program.
"They have worked well with us and hosted pet photos with Santa for the past few years and we are just happy they want to do it again and continue to work with Save a Kitty," said Grimm.
By spaying or neutering feral and un-socialized cats, their populations are downsized without having to euthanize a single feline.
Santa will be available for the photos with pets from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and from noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Organizers are asking for a donation of $9.99 for each photo and the store will allow any and all pets to be involved.
"When we say all pets, we mean any kind of pet people would like to bring," said Grimm. "In the past we have had birds, snakes, guinea pigs and rabbits, so we are never surprised but always amazed by what comes through the door."
In the past, the event has raised as much as $2,000 for the organization which uses the funds to purchase food and shelter items for the feral cats they care for in colonies throughout the Wood County area, Grimm said.
"This is our last fundraiser for the year and typically gets the cats through the winter months, as far as food goes," she added. "Without the partnership with Pet Supplies Plus, I don't know how we would be able to do what we have accomplished."
While the majority of the funds raised this weekend will go to shore up the feline food pantry with the organization, the rest of the funds will help provide shelters for the feral cats and the organization's Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) program.
The TNR method has been used to spay and neuter more than 2,000 feral and free-roaming cats, averaging 250 per year, since its inception in July 2004. It is estimated there are more than 2,000 unsocialized cats living in colonies throughout Wood County. The location of these colonies are not made public for the safety of the animals.
Save A Kitty is a local organization formed to educate people on the success of TNR in reducing the number of feral cats. The organization also hopes to remind citizens of anti-cruelty laws to protect all cats from harm.
The TNR method is a full management plan in which stray and feral cats are humanely trapped and taken to veterinarians for medical evaluation, vaccinations and sterilization. By spaying or neutering feral and un-socialized cats, their populations are downsized without having to euthanize a single feline.
The TNR method eventually stops the cycle of life by keeping more kittens from being born.
All animals brought to Pet Supplies Plus this weekend must be restrained in some manner, Grimm said.
"We recommend all cats be in carriers and all dogs have on a leash," she added. "We just don't want fights to cause problems."
For more information on the Save A Kitty program, visit www.saveakitty.org.