In just three months, a Lincoln woman has trapped 100 stray cats, given them medical care, had them spayed or neutered, then set them free again.
Melissa Money-Beecher received a grant for her organization, Joining Forces Saving Lives, to start a community cat trap-neuter-release program (TNR) in Lincoln.
In 2012, Money-Beecher quit her job to focus on helping animals. She created a no-kill dog rescue, but realized that cats were in need of the most help.
After receiving the grant from Maddie's Program, an animal advocacy and education group, she started figuring out how to do the TNR program this year.
She'd been keeping mental notes of places where she saw large numbers of feral cats and has also received tips from the public and animal control.
She started at the Shamrock Mobile Home Court, where some residents were able to help her trap the cats.
Money-Beecher noticed an older stray who was pregnant, so she kept an eye out for the cat and after she'd had her kittens, a man living nearby helped trap the cat, who he'd named Queenie.
Only one kitten in the litter survived, and it had an upper-respiratory infection. Rescued by Money-Beecher, the friendly kitten was later adopted from the Capital Humane Society.
Although Queenie was released, Money-Beacher said she still sees the cat and recognizes several others when she checks the area's traps.
Money-Beecher has trapped and released almost all of the 100 cats herself, with help only coming from nearby residents. The humane society has partnered with her to provide medical services at cost.
As the weather gets colder, Money-Beecher will halt the TNR program and resume it in March.
Until then, she's busy finding homes for 12 kittens that she discovered under a mobile home. The kittens were young enough to become tame, so Money-Beecher wanted to keep them from becoming strays.
She hopes to eventually trap and treat every feral cat in Lincoln.
"It makes everyone happy," she said. "We can help people who are concerned about the outdoor cats by making sure they get spayed or neutered and get proper vaccinations, and we also help people who don't like the cats because there will be less of them there."