Mission to control cat population underway

Chiquitin’s Cat Project helps to trap, neuter and release feral cats in Anderson County
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 6:06 PM EDT
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ANDERSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - What began with a love of cats and a desire to foster kittens has grown into Ashleigh Bello’s year-round mission to curb the community’s feral feline population.

“We need to get to the root of the problem,” Bello told FOX Carolina. “That’s where ‘TNR’ was born.”

“TNR” stands trap, neuter (or spay) and release - the process that Bello’s nonprofit, Chiquitin’s Cat Project, Inc., follows whenever called upon for help.

Bello said there many volunteers and multiple groups that focus on colonies or specific areas where feral cats live. She said TNR has been used in dozens of colonies across the county.

“We’ll get requests from people who have a colony at their house or downtown where there are a bunch of cats that need to be spayed or neutered,” Bello said.

Bello said a female cat that isn’t spayed can go into heat two to three times a year, and over a seven-year period, that same cat and her offspring can produce close to 5,000 kittens.

The cats trapped by Chiquitin’s Cat Project are taken to a local shelter, Anderson County PAWS, which spays and neuters the animals free of charge. The nonprofit relies on donations to feed and provide veterinary care for the cats once they’re returned to their colony.

Bello’s nonprofit is named after the first kitten she rescued with her now-husband while they were students in the Caribbean.

Chiquitin's Cat Project is named after the founder's first kitten rescue who was living on the...
Chiquitin's Cat Project is named after the founder's first kitten rescue who was living on the streets of the island St. Vincent and now calls Anderson is home.(whns)

“He was just a tiny kitten - really sick and covered in fleas. My husband is from Colombia, South America, so he was, like, ‘Let’s name him Chiquitin’ - which means ‘little one’ in Spanish.