Fort Worth Fights Feral Cats

City Asking For Public's Input on Feral Cat Problem

By Chris Van Horne
|  Thursday, Dec 8, 2011  |  Updated 7:18 PM CDT
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Citizens want something done about stray cats roaming through Trinity Park

Chris Van Horne, Fort Worth Reporter

Citizens want something done about stray cats roaming through Trinity Park

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Fort Worth continues to try and reduce its euthanization numbers. After successful adoption programs have helped improve adoption numbers, the city’s Animal Care and Control Department is tackling the city’s feral cat problems.

The city says they’re found in just about all neighborhoods across Fort Worth and they want residents to help form a solution to that problem. Each year about 3,000 feral cats are brought into the city’s shelter. Most of those pets are not adoptable due to disease and behavior. The number of feral cats put down equals about one-third of all euthanizations in the city.

One of the many places where you can find feral cats is Trinity Park, where regulars say they’re used to seeing the free felines roam.

“I always wonder why they’re so many out here, sometimes we call it the cat park because there are so many out here,” said Kenneth Cheshire, a regular runner at the park. “Its become so much a part of the park I’ve gotten used to it. So, to think of this place without the cats is different.”

Ultimately that’s what Fort Worth animal officials would like to see, feral cats in smaller numbers or not at all.

“We really look at that feral cat population as that next big group that we might be able to address, and so we’re looking for solutions,” said Scott Hanlon, Code Compliance Assistant Director.

The city is taking no preconceived solution to public meetings, the second of which will be held this weekend. But Hanlon says there is a lot of interest in what other cities have implemented, the so-called “Trap, Neuter, Release” method.

“Every feral cat in a managed colony gets spayed or neutered, so the reproduction that takes place normally doesn’t take place and the population stabilizes and over time reduces, that’s the idea,” Hanlon said.

Hanlon says that idea was met positively by some of the 100 people who attended the first meeting. As city officials and park users alike believe something should be done whether its to reduce the population, the environment and safety.

“Having my kids here playing at the park, it is a concern because you’re always wondering what do the cats have, you know, whether they might bite my kid,” Cheshire said.

Even though a managed population is fed at Trinity Park, city officials say they want to discourage anyone from bringing cats to the park as it could add to the problem with the spread of disease and growth in population.

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