Ogle County woman speaks out against cat trapping after hers goes missing

There are many humane ways to get rid of unwanted cats.
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 10:20 AM CDT
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OGLE COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) - Spring is cat breeding season which means you might find some fertile felines wandering through your yard.

One Ogle County woman urges people to not capture cats they find roaming―or relocate them to an unknown area―after she claims her neighbor trapped her pet cat and dropped it off at a nearby farm.

“He is an indoor-outdoor (cat), we have a dog door, so really there’s nothing I can do about him getting out,” said Mackenzie Baker, whose cat Victor is missing.

When Forreston resident Mackenzie Baker got home from work on April 28, she couldn’t find her cat, Victor. She yelled his name but Victor never came home.

“My cat has a very clean coat, had purple nail covers―like you can tell he’s somebody’s cat,” Baker said.

Baker says one of her neighbors recognized the cat after seeing a picture of him.

“He comes driving by about 20 minutes later and he’s like, ‘I think I know where your cat is if you’d like to follow me’ and I followed him about six miles out of town and he says ‘yeah, I trapped him last night and dropped him off out here,’” Baker said.

But she says Victor was nowhere to be found when she got there. They searched the area for hours with no luck finding her cat.

“It feels like someone just ripped him away from me and I feel helpless; I feel hopeless,” Baker said. “I can’t do anything about it. I can’t help him out there.”

For those that find an unwanted cat in their neighborhood, leaders with Project Humane Polo say there are solutions including the trap-neuter-release tactic.

“We use humane live traps,” said Project Humane Polo co-founder Ashley Rinehart. “(Then) Neuter or spay, vaccinate and return to their neighborhoods feral or stray cats.”

Rinehart says most cats people see are outdoor pets or strays that a family abandoned. She says people can call a TNR group or a vet to get it checked out.

“Strays are usually skinny, a little bit more friendly,” Rinehart said. “You will very rarely see a feral cat. They hide, they’re not socialized by humans at all.”

Rinehart says there are many different humane ways to get rid of cats in the yard including growing lavender or running sprinklers. Trapping cars will not stop more from coming.

23 News did reach out to Baker’s neighbor for comment but he denied the request.