Erie Trap and Release advocates for neglected cats

In 2013, Erie Trap and Release was created in an effort to advocate for the humane capture, rehabilitation and relocation of feral cats in Erie County. 

“We want to give a voice to the voiceless,” said ETR President Toni Smith. “These cats deserve a right to live.”

Feral cats are the wild offspring of domestic cats and are primarily the result of pet owners’ abandonment or failure to spay and neuter their animals, allowing them to breed in an uncontrolled environment. Feral cats tend to live in colonies and do not easily trust humans.

ETR’s goal is to minimize the feral cat population by spaying and neutering feral cats, giving them the proper vaccinations and finding a forever home for the cats and kittens that can be domesticated. Erie Trap and Release is not a shelter.

ETR is unique as it provides an alternative to overcrowded shelters to reduce the feral colonies and save taxpayer dollars for animal control and euthanization costs. 

“Our biggest priority is to maintain the health and safety of these cats,” Smith said. “Once the cats are healthy, we place the cats into safe environments, like farms, or with caretakers who will nurture the animals.”

A cat’s natural instincts make them perfect for controlling the rodent population on farms. ETR will help with the cost of food and care for those who are willing to adopt. 

“If kittens are born to a feral mother, the kittens can be accustomed to humans quickly and can be domesticated,” Smith said. “We are always looking for caretakers and a forever home for kittens.”

ETR is a 501(c)(3) and is in constant need of funding.

If you can help, donations are welcome at 3335 Peach St. in Erie and locally at 5575 Williams Road in North East. Supply donations of canned and dry cat food (Purina Healthy Weight for kittens), kitten formula, blankets, cages, soap, bleach, sponges, artificial tears, flea drops and bales of straw are greatly appreciated. Clumping litter is not accepted, as it can be harmful to kittens.

Erie Trap and Release will be at the Harborcreek Walmart on May 14 and June 18 to collect donations and to meet and educate the community on their efforts. ETR will also be at the Harborcreek Walmart from June 25 through July 4 at the Fireworks tent. They will be selling T-shirts for $15 on those dates. 

All proceeds from the T-shirt sales provide food and care for the animals. 

Monetary donations can be made online at

For more information, or to find out how you can help, visit the Erie Trap and Release Facebook page,, call 814-873-6265 or 814-392-1129.

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