WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Even in the snow, the morning starts like any other for Patrick Manning.
He heads over to a vacant lot on Watertown’s Burlington Street where he feeds stray cats. It’s something he has been doing for 18 years.
This winter, he got some help when the property’s owners made a donation: a new home for the strays.
“He said ‘I will bring the chicken coop up so you will have something for them.’ So graciously, he brought the chicken coop up and I have modified it, insulated it so it works out real well for the kitties,” said Manning.
Manning says he loves taking care of the cats, but it is a big responsibility as everything he does for them is out of pocket.
Manning says he spends about $40 on cat food and chicken a week to make sure the cats get fed twice a day.
And to reduce the stray population, Manning says he traps the cats to be neutered or spayed. That’s not cheap either.
Jefferson County SPCA Executive Director Jordan Walker-Rodriguez says people like Manning should look into their organization’s trap neuter and release program.
“They still are kind of living on the streets, but at least they are not going to reproduce, and you are not going to have 8 more cats that year that are again going to be homeless,” said Rodriguez.
But Manning says it is a problem that’s still growing. More cats means more mouths to feed.
“I want people to know that these cats did not come here on their own. They were either dumped off, or they have been put here, or they have been let go and found this place,” said Manning.
Manning says he is always looking for more community support. Donations like cat food and blankets can be dropped off under the chicken coop on Burlington Street to help the felines who don’t have a home.