More stray and feral cats than usual are roaming the streets of Le Sueur this summer but there is no need to worry, says Sandra Steinmetz of Minnesota Animal Control in Le Sueur.
“This summer has been high,” said Steinmetz, noting that 25 cats have been trapped in Le Sueur in the past two months.
Though this may seem like a lot, this number is not surprising or abnormal, especially considering the cold, wet and late spring.
The Le Sueur Police Department works with Animal Control to regulate the population of feral cats in the city, but cannot trap cats when the weather is too cold or wet, due to the risk of a trapped cat dying before its release.
So while the cats were having little kittens this spring and the population was growing naturally, Animal Control had to wait out the weather before addressing the situation. Which is exactly what they have done since the sun has started to shine and earth dry.
“This time of year there are a lot of cats,” said Le Sueur Police Chief Bruce Kelly. “During the winter they are kind of hiding out and you don’t see them but now they are more visible.”
A concern not unique to Le Sueur, stray cats – pets that are lost or abandoned – and feral cats – offspring of strays – are incredibly common in cities and neighborhoods all across the United States.
“All towns have feral cats,” said Steinmetz.
According to the Feral Cat Coalition, there are an estimated 60 million feral cats in the United States, most of which die young due to disease, starvation, abuse, accidents or becoming the prey of larger wild animals.
As most cats roaming the streets are not domesticated, some carry fleas, lice, diseases and can smell rather foul. But most are actually fearful of people and provide unseen benefits to towns like Le Sueur.
“Cats are natural-born hunters,” said Steinmetz. “Without stray and feral cats the town would be overrun with mice and rats.”
Steinmetz works to control the population of cats, which remains at a reasonable level, but not wipe it out which would be virtually impossible and simply attract other cats to the region.
Instead, he traps cats in the city and relocates them to area cattle farms where they are fed and receive immunizations to stop the possible spread of diseases that can be harmful to them or other animals and people.
“If the situation ever got out of hand, action would be taken,” said Steinmetz.
Reach reporter Erin O’Neill at 931-8576, or follow her on Twitter.com @LNHeoneill.
Reach reporter Erin O'Neill at 931-8576, or follow her on Twitter.com @LNHeoneill.