Aiken County taking steps to solve feral cat problem

Stray Cats
Overcrowded Shelters Lead to High Euthanasia rate

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -County officials are working to solve the stray cat problem. Aiken Animal Services has to euthanize 75 percent of cats brought to the overcrowded shelter. According to county statistics, one unaltered male and female cat and their offspring are capable of producing 780 thousand kittens in a 7 year period. This new resolution will allow Aiken Animal Services to sterilize feral cats and set them free after surgery. Over-population of stay cats can cause problems for not only the humans in the community, but the cats as well.

Kathy Rawls, an Aiken County Council Member said, “I think it’s really horrible to allow animals to reproduce to the point where they are starving and cannot find food to actually survive.”

Aiken Veterinary Services does surgeries on feral cats at least 5 times a week. Doctors there have seen firsthand the state of stray cats that come in. Dr. Holly Woltz with Aiken Veterinary Services claimed, “This is a very necessary program. You consider cats have multiple litters in a year. Anywhere from 3 to 6 cats with each litter the problem with wild, feral cats just is exponential.”

County Council member, Kathy Rawls is also on the board for the Aiken Friends of the Animal Shelter that works alongside animal services. She says the local shelter receives too many cats. She says, “Sadly, we do have to put down a considerable amount of animals every year. We take in about six thousand total dogs and cats and the cats are much harder to adopt out than the dogs.” Rawls says the return to field resolution that passed Tuesday night will help relieve overcrowding in the animal services shelter. “It probably would alleviate the number of cats that are turned in to the shelter because as a state law says we have to take any animal that’s brought to us,” said Rawls.

Others think this resolution can go a long way in stopping a stray cat problem that is spiraling out of control. Woltz explains; “They live a hard and cruel life. So if we can somehow help them not go through the pregnancy, reduce the volatility and the tomcat behavior of the males, then we’re helping this group.”

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