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DeWitt: Wayward Paws seeks help for cats, kittens

In her efforts to save homeless, stranded, and abused cats and kittens, Lisa Sczerba's days are anything but typical. A cat was shot with a pellet gun on Willis Street in Syracuse the other day. Sczerba got the call just as she was leaving to run errands. Her plans changed.

"That's my life on a day to day basis," she said.

Sczerba is the vice president of Wayward Paws, a not-for-profit volunteer organization that rescues cats and kittens throughout Onondaga County. Co-presidents Tina Eck of Jamesville and Joan Hathaway of LaFayette formed the group in 2006.

"We're what you call a rescue group without walls," Sczerba said. "We work out of our homes, so all the cats are fostered within each of our homes."

Since its inception, Wayward Paws has rescued more than 1,000 cats and kittens. The process, though, is costly.

"We have at least a couple thousand dollars in vet bills a month from all the animals we take in," Sczerba said, listing injured and sick animals among those they save. "We immediately get all their vet care done, get all their shots, spay, neuter, if they've been hit by a car -- whatever they need done. We get them healthy again, rehab them and put them up for adoption. And we're non-profit. We survive 100 percent on donations."

In fact, Sczerba said the two main necessities the group continually seeks is monetary donations and foster homes. Right now, there are 70 cats being fostered through volunteers, and another 50 are on a waiting list.

Why so many cats?

"People aren't spaying or neutering and cats multiply so rapidly," Sczerba said. "Picture this: Two breeding cats plus their kittens and their kitten's kittens -- in seven years -- can add up to 420,000 cats. That's three generations of cats."

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