JD BBQ Like a Local: Support the Square Cats this weekend

JD BBQ Like a Local: Support the Square Cats this weekend
This is one of the adorable kittens the Lynchburg Square Cats program worked to get adopted. Their goal is also to catch, neuter, and then re-release their mothers back around the downtown area. {Photo Provided}

One of the most charming things about our tiny town is our obsession with our Square Cats. We’re sure you’ve seen these precious darlings darting around the historic Lynchburg Square. They aren’t exactly friendly … most are feral. But they’re curious and really want to be loved on … even if it goes against their deepest instincts. They’ve also been a mainstay of our square for nearly 20 years.

“Cats have lived on the square, for as long as I can remember,” says local merchant Michelle Stubblefield. “My parents have owned Jackie’s Gift Gallery for 17 years.  Shortly after they opened, we found a kitten living behind the Dr Pepper machine, that was located right beside my parents store. From that day on, my parents, along with other merchants, have fed cats that have lived on the square.”

It was a child’s heart and determination that led to the official beginnings of the Lynchburg Square Cats.

“Two years ago, my son discovered a kitten beside my shop, Lynchburg Gifts.   He was a beautiful yellow cat, but he would not let us near him.   My son tried daily to pet him, but you could only get so close to him.   After months of trying, we finally were able to get him just close enough to feed him, and let him smell our hand. One day, we were able to trap him in my store.   Kellie Sandefur’s husband came to the rescue, with gloves, and took him to the vet, to get fixed.  We named him Jasper. Jasper was the start of Lynchburg Square Cat.”

Jasper, the original Lynchburg Square Cat. He now lives on Sandefur Farms with fellow Square Cat, Violet.

In 2019, Stubblefield and Sandefur officially launched the Lynchburg Square Cats Program. It includes a dedicated group of town merchants and other locals determined to humanely address the stray, feral cat population in downtown with a Trap/Neuter/Release Program. If you see a cat with a “ear-tipped” ear running around, that means they successfully neutered and re-released it.

The Lynchburg Veterinary Hospital and Lynchburg Friends of Animals have also partnered with the group.

“Lynchburg Veterinary Clinic has been very supportive of this project,” says Stubblefield. “We never know when we’re going to catch a feral cat, so they have been wonderful with just allowing us to drop by as we catch one, so that we could get the cat spayed/neutered.”

Stubblefield says one of their main goals is to capture, fix, and adopt the kittens of feral Square Cat. In the summer, one mother cat, had two litters of kittens, within a four month period.  She says that Bryant and Wendy Morton of the Lynchburg Vet Hospital as well as Lynchburg Friends of Animals were crucial in helping find so many kittens homes at the same time.

Feral TNR cats are important to local ecosystems. They help control cat populations by preventing other cats from moving into the area. And because they’ve been fixed, they won’t produce kittens.

Several local merchants keep donation jars in their shops to collect money for the program. It is one hundred percent donor-funded. You can support it this weekend at the Jack Daniel’s Barbecue by making a purchase at Lynchburg Gifts & More. Purchase a 16 ounce cup of Jack’s Whiskey Brew Coffee, or Jack’s Tipsy Cream Coffee for $4 and part of the proceeds will go to support the Lynchburg Square Cats. They’ll also have a donation fish tank on hand for those who would like to make a little extra donation.

Locals started a Facebook page named Lynchburg Square Cats, so interested folks could follow their progress. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}