Killeen — More lives are being saved at the Killeen Animal Shelter thanks to a new program. The barn cat program is the result of a partnership between the Killeen Animal Shelter and local cat rescue group Spark of Life.

The program was born in response to the large number of feral cats roaming the Killeen streets that end up in the shelter. Typically stray non-fixed cats that end up at the shelter are euthanized after a three-day holding period.

Shelter employee Savannah Greenwell hopes this program provides some animals a different option.

"We have a constant flow of stray and feral cats coming in so the more homes and opportunities we have for them to leave the shelter, the higher our live release rate is and the more animals were able to save," Greenwell said.

That's where the new barn cat program comes in. A new grant allows the shelter to spay and neuter the cats, then after a three day hold Spark of Life picks the animals up and re-homes them.

Victoria Watkins Killebrew who volunteers with Spark of Life said there's already a high demand for the animals.

"We have a list of people waiting that want the ferals for barn cats, they have a small community around their house, some of them go to businesses that hold tool sheds and we release them there," Watkins said.

So far the program has saved around 30 cats from the shelter, and everyone involved hopes that number just keeps growing.

"The more outlets and opportunities we have to get these animals out of the shelter to a home, we're all for it," Greenwell said.

"Every life is worthy of some kind of care, honor and respect and ferals are included in that. With us, a feral has a chance at a decent life and are able to live, but without us, all ferals that are going to the shelter will be euthanized," said Watkins.

According to Watkins, Spark of Life is currently the only Trap Neuter and Release program for ferals in the city. For ways to get involved go here.