Feral Cats in Citrus Heights Targeted by Trap-Neuter-Release Program

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CITRUS HEIGHTS–

Unleashed by Petco store in Fair Oaks gave away 20 free cages to the Citrus Heights community in an effort to better control the feral cat problem in the area.

It’s welcome news to Rick Stevans, who lives just a few minutes from the store. In the last four years, he has seen an increase in feral cats roaming around his neighborhood.

“Over 20-25 cats in the neighborhood, using our front yard as a restroom, flees infesting out front and back yard, where our kids can’t even go outside,” Stevans said.

The humane cages are given to anyone who has the time to trap it. Once the cat is inside, they can take the cage to animal control, where the cats will be fixed. Most feral kittens are trained to be adopted by families. However, adult feral cats are hard to train to be people friendly.

“Our purpose is to try to fix these cats, and put them back in the same environment,” Citrus Heights Animal Services Officer Tanya Shareef said.

But Stevans says he does not want them back in his neighborhood.

“They should put them up for adoption instead of putting them back to a neighborhood to where they are now again, a nuisance,” Stevans said.

However, studies show that simply euthanizing feral cats does not solve the problem. Female cats can have two to three liters a year, which means 20 new kittens. The only way to control the population now and in the future is to fix the matriarch of the colony. So, it may take a few years to see results.

“We do realize it can be frustrating for people, but we are working on this program, and I truly believe fixing the cats and returning [them] to the community is the best way to go,” Shareef said.

Since the Trap-Neuter-Release pilot program started in September, the Citrus Heights Animal Control has fixed more than 200 cats. Contrary to popular belief, cats do not fend for themselves — or feed exclusively on mice. So if things get out of hand, it is important to call your local animal control.

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