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Lafayette Seeks To Turn Problematic Feral Cat Feeders Into Problem-solvers

Chriss Haight Pagani

Lafayette city leaders are trying to turn a negative into a positive when dealing with the city’s ballooning feral cat population.

Mayor Tony Roswarski says some city residents have begun to feed colonies of the homeless felines, which encourages them to breed and their numbers to grow further.

“We cannot even keep up with the number of calls that we get from the people that are complaining about the feral cats or the people that already are trying to trap some of the feral cats,” Roswarski says.

So the city, faced with a problem its animal control department cannot manage, is asking those cat lovers to register with the city or face a fine for illegal feeding.

“If you’re somebody that’s feeding a colony – just feeding and providing shelter – and doing nothing to help, you’re not really helping with the problem and that’s part of the problem,” Roswarski says. “That allows the colonies to continue to grow and expand.”

If the colony caretakers sign up, they’ll be asked to capture as many cats in their area as they can and have them spayed or neutered. Once the cats are fixed, they’ll be returned to their colonies. Roswarski says he’s heard concerns from citizens who don’t want the cats euthanized, either because it’s seen as inhumane or it takes an “alpha cat” out of a colony and encourages others to step up and breed.

Lafayette is not the only  West Central Indiana city struggling with a feral cat problem. Crawfordsville has also been seeking solutions to the number of cats roaming its streets.

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