GATESVILLE, Texas (AP) — A nonprofit Central Texas cat rescue organization is volunteering to neuter feral cats that have overrun a nearby state women's prison.
More than 300 feral cats had overrun the Crain Unit state prison near Gatesville, said Kathy Kwieran, founder of Kathy's Kitties, who has volunteered to have cats at the prison neutered.
Prison employees and its 2,000 inmates, alike, had grown wary of the aggressive, biting, scratching cats, said Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The population explosion prompted prison officials to adopt a trap-and-euthanize policy toward the felines. More than 50 have been euthanized, Kwieran said, so she urged alternatives to killing the 150 to 175 cats she estimates remain on the prison property.
"They have offered to trap and spay or neuter the animals using private donations," Clark told the Killeen Daily Herald. "There would be no cost to the state.
The organizations also offered to treat the cats for fleas and ticks and give them rabies shots."
The treatments at her clinic would cost about $45 per cat, Kwieran said.
"Trap and kill does not work, and this does," she told the Daily Herald. "Once you get them fixed, no more unwanted kittens are born, so the colony won't grow.
"Once it's stabilized, they chase off new cats. With trap and kill, when you remove a cat, others move in to take its place, and they continue to breed."
Also, spaying or neutering the cats removes some of their aggressiveness, she said.
A agreement is being drawn up to formalize the arrangement, Clark said, but Kwieran hopes to begin deploying humane traps outside the secure area of the prison as soon as possible under a verbal agreement.
"It is kitten season. Most females are in heat or are pregnant now. We're desperately trying to get out there before they have a bunch of babies on their hands," she said.
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