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Oxford’s 9 Lives Cat Rescue aims at reducing kitten litters in LOU community

After running 9 Lives Cat Rescue for ten years in Oxford, Natascha Techen felt it was time to move on and officially closed the doors to her no-kill cat shelter in 2015.

It didn’t last long.

Six months later, Techen, a biologist and research scientist at the University of Mississippi, was back at it again, but this time focusing on helping to reduce the number of stray cats in Oxford by continuing her work to trap, neuter and release (TNR) wandering cats.

“We continue to help our community by trapping feral cats and getting them fixed,” Techen said. “We don’t have a physical location anymore and therefore can only accept a few cats at a time that are cared for in foster homes. Our focus is currently on TNR and providing free or low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for animal owners in our community, which we sponsor through donations.”

While 9 Lives no longer serves as a no-kill cat shelter, she and her volunteers respond to reports of areas where there are several stray cats, who if left unneutered could produce hundreds of kittens.

Techen traps the cats and brings them to a local veterinarian who performs the neutering and spaying and the cats are returned back to where they were found.

“We don’t relocate them,” she said. “They usually have found a way to survive where they are, maybe people are feeding them or they have an ample food supply naturally.”

Nine Lives was founded by Julie Holman and Techen, and was set up in the basement of Holman’s house. When Holman left Oxford several years ago, Techen took over the running of the organization.

In September, 9 Lives volunteers trapped ten female cats in one neighborhood who were being fed by a resident but couldn’t afford to get them all spayed.

“We trapped ten females at the location and got them all spayed and ear-tipped at Bottletree Animal Hospital, and returned after recovery,” she said. “Ten females fixed equals roughly 60 kittens avoided.”

Techen also works with Feral University Rebel Rescuers, or FURR — a university organization that performs the same Trap/neuter/release program on campus.

“When we first started there were 200 stray cats and now we’re down to about 30 and they are all fixed,” Techen said. “We’ve been kitten free for many years now which shows TNR works.”

Techen approached the OLHS Board of Directors last week, asking the shelter to provide space for her to keep four to six cages at the shelter for the TNR program and use funds provided by the city to pay for animal control for the surgeries.

“TNR is a form of animal control,” Techen said. “We would provide the manpower to do the trapping and run them back and forth to the veterinarian and then release them back where we found them.”

The board said it would consider Techen’s request but took no official action.

9 Lives is a nonprofit organization and donations can be made through PayPal to nine_lives_cat_rescue@hotmail.com or checks can be mailed to 9 Lives Cat Rescue, PO box 2006, Oxford, MS 38655. Visit 9 Lives on Facebook for more information.