It was a fairly good year for village cat-wranglers this year, according to Marie Post, town/village animal control officer and the person in charge of the village’s feral cat cleanup program, now shut down for the winter.
For the last several years, spurred on by complaints from village residents about yowling, howling, nasty, flea-ridden feral cats roaming the neighborhoods and making it unsafe for pet cats to go outside, the village has had a catch-and-release program for the feral cats.
Using live trapping, volunteers and some village officials trap these cats and transport them to the Ulster County SPCA in the town of Ulster, where they are either spayed or neutered, and then released back into the wild.
There have been more than 20 cats caught and released this year, said Post, “a successful year.”
Thanks to the village’s program, the cats will continue to live out their lives in their cat colony but will be unable to reproduce, which, village officials hope, will put an end to the feral cat problem.
No one really has a good handle on how many feral cat colonies there are in the village, but the one that was targeted this year was in a vacant lot off Montross Street.
Earlier this year, village trustee Patrick Landewe said it was believed the original colony members were discarded by owners who no longer wanted to care for the animals, and that they then did what comes naturally and a feral cat colony sprang up.
Residents, especially those that have had to deal with the problem cats, have asked why the cats are not just euthanized. Post and trustees have said they do not believe in killing the cats, but support the more humane method of ridding the village of its cat colonies.
It costs $20 to spay or neuter each captured cat, the cost of which comes from donations, a line item in the village budget, or from an animal emergency fund.
The town of Saugerties has had a similar program for the last five years, and it has worked there, Post explained.
Once the weather turns warmer and winter turns into spring, the village will be looking for volunteers to help with the cat roundup. For more information, call Post at 246-6211 or the village hall at 246-2321.