In early September, I was contacted by Debby Sloss, asking if I could give her any information about the pending construction of the parking deck next to Canton City Hall. Her concerns were about a colony of community cats that she and several others feed and care for daily; the construction would traumatize and displace them. The cats are familiar with being fed in the parking lot, and have shelter in the kudzu. Later in the month, the area will be demolished.
City officials gladly offered to build what’s known as the Catty Shack, a feeding station and napping house. We located the structure in the upper parking lot next to City Hall. I’m happy to announce that the cats investigated the structure soon after it was installed.
The ceremony was attended by about 25 people, mostly from the rescue community. Represented was the Grey Project founder, Brianna Bankston, who has TNR’d (trapped, neutered and returned) 1,000 cats since 2016; Bill Mick of Cherokee Stray Cats TNR, who has helped nearly 500 cats; and Cherokee County Animal Shelter. We heard from several people who work with these groups about their efforts in getting food, shelter and medical care for community cats. The cats receive medical care and are neutered to prevent population increases. Everyone stressed the need for folks to spay and neuter their pets to reduce the numbers of community cats.
Mayor Bill Grant said this project fits in purrfectly with the city’s Road Map for Success. “We are committed to offering a diverse selection of housing, and this project definitely falls under that goal,” he said.
Thank you to the public works department for its expertise in construction and installation, Lauren Johnson for her help in getting the word out to the public, and City Manager Billy Peppers for his assistance in getting this project completed before construction begins on the parking deck.
Donations of food, canned or dry, can be taken to the Cherokee County Animal Shelter, 1015 Univeter Road, Canton; donations will be dispersed to the volunteers who care for the cats.
– Sandy McGrew served on the Cherokee Arts Council board for five years and currently serves on the Canton City Council.