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Scratching a problem

Downtown vendors help stray cats

POSTED: January 23, 2012 9:18 a.m.
Photo by Patty Leon/

Artist Marjett Schille (left) and Lou Rae Kobusche gesture toward one of Schille’s painting’s “Puss in Boots” that Kobusche won in a raffle that benefits a new Trap/Neuter/Release program for cats in downtown Hinesville.

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It’s no secret that downtown Hinesville has stray cats here and there. Whether abandoned by previous owners or born into the environment, these feral colonies have been around, surviving on small mice, bugs and dumpster scraps.

Recently downtown vendors pulled together to help the cats and, in turn, help the downtown. The group started collecting donations and on Friday night auctioned off a painting by Marjett Schille to pay for the humane trapping, spaying/neutering, vaccination and safe return of at least 10 cats to date.

TNR has been used in communities across the country to reduce unwanted litters, control overpopulation and provide a partnership between businesses and abandoned felines.

Owners of Hinesville’s Uncommon Grounds, Zum Rosenhof and Jeff’s Candy Kitchen all say they have soft spots for the cats and launched the campaign in December. Several other local businesses lent their support and project ‘Main Street Meows’ was born.

Friday evening, patrons gathered at Uncommon Grounds to raffle off Schille’s painting “Puss in Boots.”

Schille, the art teacher at Liberty County High School, goes to Uncommon Grounds for espresso. She owns four dogs and four cats that she rescued. She estimates she has rescued, fostered and adopted out roughly 30 cats in eight years.

She said she noticed Jenny Cole, the owner of Uncommon Grounds, had placed a poster and was accepting donations to help the feral cats. That got her to think about donating one of her paintings for a raffle.

“It’s something that would be fun for people and advocate for cats,” she said.

“Cats have always been a part of the downtown picture…” Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Director Vicki Davis said. “But I think it’s very important that we do make sure that the cats are healthy and not posing any environmental or public health issues... And in return if they get rid of a few mice then that’s a plus.”

Cole said of the 10 cats that were successfully trapped and returned, seven were female. They were all given three-year rabies shots. The cats were trapped by another local animal lover and activist, Jean-Ann Lingle.

Lane said Lingle operates a company called FACT (Feline and Canine Transport). She takes the cats to a Jacksonville clinic, which did all the operations and treatments for $12 per cat due in part to a grant. Lane said that grant has since expired but the clinic is still charges only $30 per cat.

Once returned, vendors care for and feed the cats.

Lou Rae Kobusche is a cat lover with two cats at home. She won Friday night’s raffle.

“We need the kitties around here to keep the rats down,” she said. “They are wonderful, cute and they needed our help.”

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