TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It's a problem that's breeding in almost every neighborhood throughout the city and county.
A growing population of stray cats are over-running neighborhoods. Many of these strays are ending up at local animal shelters, after they are "trapped" by animal advocates or residents.
Staff at the no-kill shelter Pawsitively Cats say it is now kitten season, and the problem is much worse.
Staff at Pawsitively Cats had rented out two homes in the Mid-town area, specifically to house the rescued cats.
Inside these homes, the cats were free to roam. They had crates, cat-trees, pet beds, and linens laid out all over the place for the cats to rest on.
A separate building housed cats that suffered from feline Leukemia. The rescue group had 38 cats with Leukemia.
Sheryl Campbell, the Executive Director of the Pawsitively Cat shelter said they were overwhelmed. All of their shelters were bursting at the seams. People would come by and drop off tubs full of kittens, and they were getting phone calls from people all over Tucson, asking for help with feral colonies in their neighborhoods.
Campbell said, due to space and money, they were unable to take in any new cats. They held adoption events at two Petco locations in Tucson every weekend.
Campbell and her staff of volunteers went all over the city with traps, trying to humanely "trap" as many cats as they could.
They would get the animals spayed and neutered, and release them back out into the neighborhood after they had recovered.
On Monday, Campbell said she had just rescued a stray found at the Pime County Fairgrounds, now they were looking for his partner.
"We're looking for a pregnant female, hoping to catch her before she delivers," said Campbell.
Sylvia Ramos, who lived in West Tucson said there was a huge feral cat colony in their neighborhood.
"They're all over the place. They're on our roof at night, they sound like children playing up there. They make a big mess," said Ramos.
She had even found dead cats on her property.
Ramos added that some of her neighbors were trying to humanely trap the cats and get them spayed and neutered.
At Pawsitively cats they had six cat traps that they would loan out to people who needed help.
Campbell urged people to trap the cats and then take them to get spayed and neutered, then release them. Once they were "fixed", they would not contribute to the breeding problem that was drastically increasing the cat population in many neighborhoods.
Campbell, along with many of the shelter volunteers had taken in dozens of cats into their own homes to "foster" because there was no more room at the shelter.
They were digging deep into their own pockets to spay and neuter the animals, feed them, and get them medicine. It was a life saving mission that Campbell was passionate about.
"It's not their fault. This is the fault of human beings, by not spaying and neutering them, and abandoning them, they are leading to this problem. These are just innocent babies," said Campbell.
A separate building on the property housed 38 cats with Feline Leukemia. Campbell spent a little bit of extra time with these cats, knowing they did not have much time left to live.
"These animals aren't going anywhere, they cant be adopted out, this is their final stop, and I'm going to make it peaceful and comfortable for them," said Campbell.
She teared up and got emotional as she played with her sick cats.
"They aren't going to live long. It's really hard. I lost six of them last year, and it just kills me every time, " said Campbell.
The shelter is in desperate need of donations and help. If you are interested in helping or just finding out what to about a feral colony in your neighborhood, you can get more information by logging on to their website http://pawsitivelycats.org/.
They are always looking for volunteers, and people who want to sponsor a cat, or help with vet bills.
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