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BEND, OR -- Bend is well-known as a dog town, but is it a cat town as well? If the number of stray cats is any indication, apparently not. The local non-profit CRAFT (Cat Rescue, Adoption and Foster Team) has cared for more than a thousand cats and kittens a year since 2006, and they've seen an increase in calls, recently. 

 

Janice Sershen is a CRAFT volunteer and says without her group, there are few other options. "I think more could have been done in past years.  The shelters don't go out in the field and do trapping or go out there. They want cats brought to them and they'll deal with it. I'm probably one of the few that goes out and puts a hundred miles on my car a day picking up the cats or trapping them, checking the situation." She adds, "You can't expect people, everyone to know how to trap. A lot of people don't want to touch a cat. And, there's a fear, understandably, of rabies, you have to worry about being bit - that's a serious issue. I have enough experience that I feel comfortable doing it. For my love and passion for cats, I'll do it."

 

She says they've received 77 calls at CRAFT's Bend shelter, in just the last three weeks. "We get calls everyday. I cannot keep up with trapping. I get so many calls for strays or abandoned, people evicted leaving cats behind, feral colonies, people feeding or not feeding, breeding moms and babies. I just don't have enough foster homes to pick up the moms and kittens."

 

CRAFT's Bend shelter is currently home to 60 cats. The organization runs on donations and some grant money. They are now asking for more volunteers and foster families to help until new families can be found for the cats and kittens. 

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