Published: Jun 04, 2013 12:41 PM EDT

CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Charlotte County will hold its first-ever monthly trap-neuter-return (TNR) clinic, this Sunday, June 9, to address the issue of the feral cat population.

Between 30 and 100 feral and free-roaming cats will be spayed and neutered at the clinic, which is a pilot project of the newly formed feral cat group called the Community Cats of Charlotte. Former Charlotte County Commissioner Bob Starr funded the launch of the new spay-neuter program, which aims to improve the care of Charlotte County’s feral and free-roaming cats, while also stopping their explosive population growth, through an organized “trap-neuter-return” strategy.

“A TNR clinic is the only way we can get a handle on feral cats in Charlotte County,” said Starr, who donated almost $3,000 to TNR efforts for Charlotte County cats. “It will help relieve the cats’ suffering and will keep the county from having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on feral cat trapping and euthanasia.”

The new clinic features citizen volunteers, advocates, and veterinarians in a collaborative surgical setting where cats are not only sterilized, but given rabies and distemper vaccinations, treated for parasites and treated medically, if they have injuries or other treatable conditions. The left ear will be “ear-tipped,” which is a universal symbol of a sterilized and rabies-vaccinated feral or free-roaming cat.

Cats are then returned back to their outdoor home with their caregivers who manage the colony. The cat colony population immediately stabilizes - no more kittens, and the size of the colony decreases over time. Their nuisance behaviors stop, which improves their relations within the community.

Volunteer Charlotte County veterinarians will lead the clinic, which starts at 7:30 a.m. Dr. Anita Holt, who owns Pampered Pet Health Center in Port Charlotte, will host the clinic at her practice located at 1851 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte.

The entire team aspires to dramatically reduce the number of feral and free-roaming cats throughout Charlotte County, while also making their lives more comfortable, said Community Cats of Charlotte president Janet Gould.

“This is about providing a humane answer to the challenge of living with feral and free-roaming cats,” she said. “If feral cats are ‘fixed’ and fed, they are fine in their outdoor homes.”

The clinic requires reservations; if you’d like to participate, call 941-249-4078 to find out how you can perform TNR in your neighborhood and make a practical, caring difference in the lives of Charlotte County’s feral and free-roaming cats.