Feral cats: a good thing? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Feral cats: a good thing?

Feral Cat at the Humane Society of Northeast Texas. Feral Cat at the Humane Society of Northeast Texas.
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Those feral cats you may have seen lurking in the shadows are a good thing, as long as they don't reproduce. That's what the Humane Society of Northeast Texas believes, and the city of Longview is backing them up with a new ordinance.

It's all about 'TNR' -- also known as Trap, Neuter, and Release. It was passed in February and it will protect cats like this one seen lurking around a north Longview neighborhood: a TNR ordinance.

Humane Society Board Member Heather Payer-Smith believes feral cats keep the snake and rodent population in check; it's just that someone needs to keep the cats in check.

“When feral cats, truly feral cats come into the shelter, our goal is to be able to be able to vaccinate them, get them spayed or neutered and release them back,” Heather said.

From whence they came or to someone who needs a barn cat. The program will help keep disease and overpopulation at bay.

“A feral cat will stay in its community or in its home for as long as its natural life,” Heather explained.

She says if the cat is taken to a shelter another cat will just take over the territory, and they're not really suited for adoption.

“More often than not a feral cat is not going to become a lap kitty,” Heather pointed out.

The TNR ordinance was passed by Longview City Council in February, but the program isn't functional yet.

“It's kind of an undertaking but if we can get the support and rally the community behind us this is something that can really transition quickly and we can have some great success with,” Heather stated.

Animal Control would bring the cats in to be spayed or neutered and receive vaccinations, and taken back to their territory after they heal up. But for now:

“We do lose a lot of cats to euthanasia because once they're brought in if they don't have a place to go, they're not adoptable they have to sadly be put to sleep,” Heather explained.

And a sanitation truck is the last step in that process, but soon many cats that end up here will become a valuable part of the city ecosystem.

Heather also adds that there is a difference between a stray cat and a feral cat: Feral cats are truly wild like a raccoon, a possum, or a skunk, while strays have much more exposure to people.

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