SALT LAKE CITY – Stray cats can be a nuisance, but a group of Utahns are working to control feral cat populations through means other than putting the animals down.
Best Friends Animal Society is trapping feral cats, but they are caging the animals for a good cause.
The cats live in colonies of three to 30, and the cats captured are spayed and neutered before they are brought back.
"Community cats covers a fairly large scale of cats,” said Jessica Vigos, who is the Community Cat Coordinator. “It can be anything from owned pets that have been abandoned or left, to very untame cats.”
Clyde Daines works at a clinic that does spaying and neutering and spoke about the importance of the procedure in controlling cat communities.
“Cats multiply so fast," he said. "Female cats have a litter, six, seven, eight kittens; those kittens will be breeding in six months."
Jessica Vigos, Community Cat Coordinator, said it’s an ongoing process.
"It is monitoring the colony and reducing the numbers over time,” she said. “It doesn't happen overnight. But over time, that colony will be reduced because there's no more kittens being brought into the colony.”
Daines estimates that the program has fixed 4,000 cats since it started, not all of which were feral.
"Overpopulation in any of the animal situations, in the ferals, in the shelters: It's just a real problem,” Daines said.
Vigos said the procedure helps in other ways as well.
"Many of the behaviors that cats exhibit that are unfixed are spraying, yowling, fighting; they're actually much healthier once they're fixed,” Vigos said.
The Best Friends Animal Society is seeking volunteers to help with the Community Cats program, click here for details.