Solution at hand for herds of outdoor cats, but not much progress made

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 26, 2015 2:34 PM

(Harrisburg) -- A solution to a problem that can frustrate people not just in the midstate but nationwide could be at hand, but advocates say progress has been piecemeal.

They're called feral cats, though experts say the term community cats is more accurate for the thousands of the animals that live outside.

The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area is trying to get a handle on the problem one at a time.

Amy Kaunas, the group's executive director, says people who trap feral cats and bring them in are told the animals will be placed back in the wild.

"That's a mind-blowing experience for some people because they simply want the cat to go away. And it's a challenge for us because many times we can't give that individual what they're expecting or what they think they want," she says.

Kaunas says after neutering the cats, they have to be returned to the outdoors because they often can't live with humans.

She says a number of municipalities have tried to deal with the problem with Trap, Neuter, and Release programs.

She singled out Derry and Swatara townships, as well as Steelton Borough, for using the practice.

Kaunas says if enough people help out a little, her organization can get a handle on the cat population.

"Even if it's something as simple as 'Hey can you set a couple of traps down, bring these four cats tomorrow so we can alter them to prevent a litter happening in the next two weeks.'"

Others have banned feeding though hungry cats quickly grow irritable and get aggressive about finding their next meal, which can be problematic if they turn to dumpsters and trash cans near homes and restaurants.

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