Florida town starts neuter program to limit feral cat spread

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DELRAY BEACH, Florida (AP) – A city in South Florida has launched a new program aimed at curbing the spread of a growing wildcat population.

The city of Delray Beach recently allocated $ 25,000 to neuter and vaccinate cats that roam freely in the area. Officials estimate that there are between 7,000 and 10,000 feral cats in the city.

Heidi Nielsen, director of information and public relations for the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, told SunSentinel that female cats can give birth to up to three litters per year.

Left unchecked, she said these numbers are growing exponentially and can pose a health risk to residents through diseases such as rabies. They are also a predatory threat to birds.

“It doesn’t take long for a small cat population to become a very large cat population,” said Neilsen.

The Delray Beach program uses animal experts to capture stray cats and bring them to a veterinarian. After anesthesia, the cats are neutered or neutered, given a rabies vaccine and an implanted microchip.

The entire process takes about an hour and the cat is returned to its original territory. The program is scheduled to start in November.