Neighborhood trapping and releasing to control feral cat population

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - People living in Kansas City's Volker neighborhood used to have a problem.

"They were bothered with the cats," resident Ron McElroy said. "The mating at night, the yowling."

Feral and free-roaming cats were getting out of control. But not anymore.

McElroy has been the neighborhood's "cat trapper" for the past six years. His method seems to be working.

"I was at about 10 wild cats, now I have four," McElroy said.

"You're giving pets the gift of life," said HSPCA executive director and CEO Courtney Thomas.

The HSPCA says the method, called "Trap, Neuter, Release," is the most humane and effective way to control the feral cat population.

Last year, the organization fixed about 2,600 feral and free-roaming cats then released them back into the wild.

Thomas says it's a better option than euthanasia, because if the population is gone all at once, more cats come crawling right back. Once they are fixed, Thomas says the cats are more tame.

Thomas says the problem is getting cities to sign on to the practice. Independence and Riverside are trying it out right now.

"We really need the community to get behind us," she said.

Kansas City, Mo. has no leash law, so the city does not go looking for feral cats. The official recommendation is to trap the cat and bring it to the animal shelter. However, those cats are not released.

To learn more about the HSPCA's services, visit www.hspcakc.org/community-programs/hero/ .

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