Stray cats in Jefferson County face an unhappier future today than just a month ago. The Humane Society of Jefferson County and its handful of volunteers have given up their effort to care for the county’s abandoned and feral cats. Lack of money and an inadequate number of volunteers made going forward impossible, Glennis Fellas told The Bulletin.

Nor can county government step in to help. With limited resources, Jefferson County commissioners do pay Jefferson County Kennels to take in stray dogs, though there’s no room for cats.

That sounds harsh, but it does make sense. Stray cats may be an annoyance, and they may be tough on wild birds, but they pose relatively little threat either to humans or to livestock, as dogs can do.

For the cats, loss of the humane society means a couple of things. More strays are likely to die from disease, predation or accidents than happens now, and the life expectancy of cats on their own is only two years. And, unless their former owners neutered them, more cats will produce feral offspring, increasing the number of strays dramatically. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce more than 90 million cats in just seven years.

Numbers like that are troublesome, but they can be mitigated. People can get their own cats neutered and, if they must leave the kitties behind in a move, turn them over to a shelter or organization equipped to care for them. Perhaps equally important, they can support organizations like CRAFT, SNIP and Deschutes County’s two animal shelters, which provide a variety of services that help to reduce the number of strays.