Phenix City administrators have unilaterally decided to respond to complaints of feral cats at Idle Hour Park by trapping the cats in the park. They say that they will take them to a local shelter from where it is hoped that they will be adopted. But how practical or realistic is that and how likely is it that at least some of these cats will be euthanised (killed is the more accurate word)?
Assistant City Manager, Steve Smith, believes that there are about four dozen stray and feral cats at the park.
The complaints concern cats approaching pavilions in the evening and at night.
Some park users are fearful of the cats. Angela Dawkins is an example. She said:
“I’m not going to come because I’m scared of cats. So, I know if I see cats that I’m not going to come and sit down and eat.”
What some (the majority?) of the residents and park users want is a discussion on how best to deal with the cats in the most humane way.
In my experience these matters are best dealt with through a community meeting organised by city management to ensure that residents have their say and are committed to the project.
The guiding principle is how to deal with the cats humanely. The obvious choice is to start a TNR program. It will take time to have an effect on cat numbers so in the meantime the city should reassure park users that the cats are not a hazard. If the park is big enough (it looks huge) it might be possible to confine the cats to a part of the park to allows users who are fearful of cats to avoid them.
There is a negligible danger of getting a disease from a stray cat as nearly all feline diseases are not zoonotic. This danger should be put to bed. Dogs are far more dangerous.
P.S. The city is in Alabama, USA