By Theresa Ekdom
ROSCOMMON – Marc McKee had been coming to Roscommon since 1986. In 2002, he and his wife Leslie moved to the area, and in 2010 they moved into the village where they now live.
At that time, there was a significant cat population in town.
“There were so many (cats) in the neighborhood,” Marc said. “We had a lot coming into the garage starving, so we started feeding them.”
And everyone knows what happens when you start feeding strays – they stay.
“One of them was pregnant so we brought it into the house.”
Marc and Leslie, who had never had cats, now had a mother cat and six kittens.
“We got them all fixed and their shots and gave away four of the babies,” Marc said.
In 2012, Leslie was diagnosed with Graves disease. She found that having cats helped her with some of the symptom of the disease, making her feel better and lessening her anxiety. So they kept the two kittens and the mother cat. Eventually, other strays made their way into their family.
Marc and Leslie currently have five house cats and four additional cats that live outside. But the number always changes.
“Some leave,” Marc said, “and new ones come in.”
This all led to the formation of a not-for-profit organization.
“Brie Molaison and I kept getting calls about stray cats, so we decided to start a cat rescue called LB Whiskers,” Leslie said.
They take in stray and ‘throw away’ cats, care for them, and find people to adopt them.
“Marc and I do feed some of the stray or throw aways that come around our house. There are a few more that have been coming lately, but we can’t catch them. The ones we can catch go to the vet for spaying and neutering and getting their shots,” Leslie said.
The McKees use a local veterinarian, paying out of pocket to get the cats cared for. While they have found that the cat population has gone down drastically since they started ‘fixing’ them, having that many cats in the neighborhood can cause problems.
“These stray and feral cats, it doesn’t matter if they are fixed or not, they still spray to mark their territory. People are getting upset because cats don’t care what they spray on! Something needs to be done and we do the best we can to help, but we have ended up with almost too many cats,” Leslie explained.
Marc has been a member of the Village Council since moving to the village in 2010. He’s hoping to get a committee formed to look into the animal situation.
“They are ‘untouchables’,” Marc said, explaining that there were no ordinances about cats in the Village. “There are cruelty laws to protect them, but nothing governs them. We have ordinances on chickens, ducks, and geese; we need to have something for cats.”
Marc explained that dogs have a ‘leash law’, and if a stray dog wanders onto his property that he could call the Roscommon County Animal Control who would come and get the dog. The owner would be liable for fees to get their dog returned to them.
“Cats can go where-ever they want, they are ‘untouchables’. You just can’t hurt or kill a cat,” he added.
He would like the yet to be formed committee to address barking dogs and the noise ordinance; as well as holding cat owners to a standard, addressing the number of cats a person could own and looking to see if cats should be licensed.
In the meantime, the McKees will continue spending their own money caring for the neighborhood cats, befriending those feral cats they can, spaying/neutering them, getting them their shots, as well as feeding them.
LB Wiskers Cat Rescue is a not-for-profit organization and they accept donations, especially of dry cat food. You can contact them through their Facebook page to discuss how you can get involved in the organization. While there, look through the posts and find that special cat you can adopt!
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