An effort to control Kirby’s feral cat population will receive a big boost for the coming year, in the form of a $46,000 grant.

Christie Banduch, Kirby animal services manager, will detail the department’s receipt of the grant from Pet Smart Charities for the Kirby City Council at its July 25 meeting.

The grant, worth $46,130, will provide spay and neuter surgeries for more than 1,580 cats in Kirby, which will allow Banduch to put a significant dent in the city’s feral cat population by preventing future litters.

Banduch’s office on Duffek Drive contains a city map divided into 12 “target zones” showing how the funded program will progress. The zones were produced “by months and months of number-crunching” by using a formula that estimates cats per street and converts streets and neighborhoods into zones.

Currently, the city is working in zone 1, the Springfield neighborhood. The first three zones are along the city’s southern border, she said, and the grant-funded program will progress in a counter-clockwise manner through the city.

Prior to landing the $46,130 Pet Smart Charities grant — which will allow Banduch to spend $22,130 on a salaried position and $24,000 on the spay/neuter surgeries, rabies vaccinations and ear-tipping — Banduch said the city was already handling about five cats per week.

“I can find five right now, with my eyes closed,” she said. “This grant will allow us to dedicate a person to attack the problem full-time, and assign the needed money to get the surgeries done.”

Established in 1994, Pet Smart Charities creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. In that time, Pet Smart Charities has provided more than $170 million in grants and programs benefiting animal-welfare organizations and programs.

“We’ll be able to trap and treat 6½ cats a day, five days a week, for the whole year, with the grant money” she said. “It’s going to make a huge difference.”

The Pet Smart Charities grant, which runs for one year, begins Aug. 1. Banduch estimates the city has trapped and sterilized about 50 cats since her office began its own Community Cats Program in February. Of those 50, 26 sterilization surgeries have been paid for through a San Antonio Area Foundation grant that Kirby received for the trap-neuter-return program.

To prepare for the Pet Smart Charities funds, Banduch is increasing the number of traps the city owns. Currently using about a half-dozen traps, she has ordered about 15 more, and expects the city’s trap count to reach 26 once the program gets rolling.

Banduch’s staff and volunteers placed 10 signs throughout the city, and specifically in the zone 1 Springfield neighborhood, that announced the Community Cats Program. “Every day, we get calls and emails from people who have seen the signs,” she said.

A city ordinance holds that all outdoor cats must be spayed or neutered, and the year-long program funded by the new grant will go far in reducing the city’s feral cat breeding problem.

“There may be as many as 1,630 feral cats out there,” Banduch said, according to the formula she used to draw the city zones. “The cats we trap will be sterilized and released, but at least we’ll cut down drastically on the number of future litters.”

Kirby residents with questions about the program, or who would like to volunteer to help Banduch operate the program and the city’s shelter, can call 666-0954.

For more about Pet Smart Charities — a leader in pet adoptions, finding homes for more than 400,000 dogs and cats each year — visit