CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The city of Charleston is dealing with a cat overpopulation problem.. The numbers of stray and feral cats in the city is cause for concern. Monday night city council discussed the exploding feline population and some potential solutions.

Some of those ideas tossed out and up for discussion were creating a feline registry, a $3 per-year cat tax and a limit of two cats per household.

Chelsea Staley, the marketing director at the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association, said the suggestions, in her opinion, aren’t helpful.

“Historically in other cities cat limits are nothing but a bad thing,”  Staley said.

She said unlike most dogs many cats, even house cats, who are well cared for don’t wear ID tags. She adds, in the long run, cat ordinances like the ones proposed Monday at city council don’t reduce the cat population by much.

“They only punish responsible cat owners and they don’t really do anything to help the problem because the problem is the irresponsible cat owner,” according to Staley.

Charleston’s animal control officers told city council they work very hard to contain the feline population but it’s near impossible with so many strays and, more importantly, feral cats on the loose.

Staley said euthanasia is not the answer to the problem.

“There is a large feral cat problem in Charleston. Nobody is denying that. But there are some creative solutions to help with that that don’t punish responsible pet owners.”

Staley advocates the trap/neuter/relocate option, or TNR, which calls for catching feral cats, sterilizing them and then letting back into the wild.

“You cannot make a feral cat a house cat,” said Staley. “You can’t try to adopt a feral cat into a home because it doesn’t want a home. Outside is its home. They are survivors, just like wildlife. They just happen to look like your house cat.”

When feral cats are brought into the shelter, Staley said they can’t be rehabbed. That means euthanasia. She stressed the TNR method, used in other cities, has a produced a 63 percent decrease in the cat population over a 10-year period.

The Humane Association wants to work with the city to help solve the problem. In fact, they hope to sit down with council members in the near future to talk about options that don’t involve what they call “punishing responsible cat owners” with a tax, but instead target feral cat populations and bring them under control.

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  • Scissors

    I see we need some Trap and neuter ordinances for some of the "people" ( I won't use the word human. because they are not human-they are disgusting vermin themselves) posting on this. I do hope that someday someone will comment that they want to do the things you want to do to the cats TO YOU. How dare you sit there, swilling your beer, and acting like you can simply say such things and not have Karma bite you in the ass. Which it will..when you least expect it.

  • Wayne

    Why don't they give these cats to people like me; the outdoor feral cats could live outside and eat the dang moles !!!!
    I'm serious; I wouldn't have to worry about them in the winter and they could eat anything they could catch.

  • Larry

    If you have more than 2 cats, you are one of the creepy cat people you have heard others talk about.

  • That guy over there

    I could drastically reduce the population in short order...Heck, I'll even pay the city to let me do it. I'll dispose of the corpses, cats make wonderful coyote bait..I could kill the cats then use them for my coyote killing operations, then kill the coyotes..I'd be killing two varmints with 1 stone so to speak. Its a win/win for everyone. I'm just playing, i'd sell them to the "Wok and Roll" there in charleston...They would put them to good use.

  • JJ

    Feral cats should be trapped and destroyed. They cause an incredible amount of population damage to birds and small mammals. Many studies suggest feral cats are the #1 killers of songbirds. Not to mention spreaders of disease. In no way should releasing them even be considered.

    Please consider the many other animals this affects, both wild and domesticated, rather than just the cats. Domestic cats are not a native species, and that's why when they go out on their own they are "feral". There is no such thing as a "wild" house cat. Whitetail deer are wild. Black bears are wild. Chipmunks are wild. Housecats are feral. See the definition:

    1.(esp. of an animal) In a wild state, esp. after escape from captivity or domestication: "a feral cat".
    2.Resembling a wild animal

    Brown (or Norway) rats are also non-native and out of control but I doubt many of you want to see them trapped, neutered, and released. These feral cats are vermin just the same.

  • GregG

    I knew, given enough time, User Fee Jones would find a way to tax pussy cat. If anyone needs TNR, it would be King Danny and his Little Court. Just be sure to release them across the Ohio river.

  • That guy over there

    Lord knows you can't joke about anything anymore. Trap/neuter spay/release isn't going to fix anything except put the city under financial strain. From a biological standpoint it is very irresponsible to allow so many feral cats to run around in an area, cats are incredible hunters and will quickly have devastating effects on the local wildlife populations...small birds and other small critters. You see, feral cats are that...they are feral, not native; they are a pest like that of roaches and what not. The responsible thing to do is for cat owners to not let their cats roam freely killing and breeding out of control. Be responsible and take care of your animals. Sorry to ruffle you touchy feely animal lover’s feathers...sometimes the cold hard truth isn't covered with flowers and cute bunny rabbits. Sometimes it’s shrouded in blood and the corpses of the vermin, that's just the way it is.

    • Dean

      "quickly have devastating effects on the local wildlife populations..."
      Quickly? I didn't realize that feral cats were a new issue. I thought they had been around for oh, I don't know, decades. As far as financial strain, has anyone here looked into just how much that would cost to tnr the cats in comparison to the cost of killing them?

  • Dean

    Wow! I read over these comments and truly hope that most of them were sent by school age children sitting at home bored. Set out cans of cat food in the alleys and shoot the cats? Really? Capture and destroy them? Unbelievable. I had to go look at my calendar to make sure it was really 2013 and not 1970 on that one. With Charleston putting so much effort into becoming a more modern city to attract new citizens (doing away with the drunk fest regatta was and starting Festival for example) the city should take this opportunity to lead the way with a program such as trap/neuter/release, rather than supporting large scale slaughter of these animals.

  • bulldog95

    Someone correct me if I am wrong but aren't animals viewed as property of the owner? If thats the case and if I were to live in the city and owned 4 indoor cats, would they make me give up 2 of them? If they do would that be the same as illegal seizure of ones property?

  • Ronnie

    That guy over there

    Great Thinking!!! signing u up to council, u have my vote

  • That guy over there

    Have a controlled hunt...they way they keep the deer populations in could open cans of cat food in the alleys around the buildings and whatnot...wait...then shoot the cats...charge 25 dollars per permit...the city makes money and the cat population declines. Oh wait a minute...that would fix the problem...makes too much sense...that will never work.

  • blugldmn

    How in the hell is limiting people to two cats and charging them a tax on them going to do anything in regard to the feral population?

    Typical government response to nearly every problem is to restrict the activity by people who are not the problem and make them pay some sort of tax to boot.

  • David

    TNR is expensive, time-consuming, and does nothing for the quality of life for the cats. Feral cats live horrible, short lives of hunger, pain, and disease - and kill many beneficial animals as well as an enormous number of song birds.
    And, "AX MAN", the word is "ASK", not "AX".

  • AX MAN

    Send them to China, they have a way to take care of them, in a well done matter.

    • Scissors

      I have a much better idea,Ax man. Lets dress you up in a cat costume and send YOU to China. I'm sure your fat butt will feed many.

    • Meep

      Why are right wingers so incredibly stupid? And cruel? And heartless?

      Why is it that the prevention of animal cruelty is considered a liberal agenda? Don't right wingers have dogs they love? Why are you people so proud of your insensitivity to animal suffering? You're even proud you don't mind hurting animals.

      And why is the environement considered a left wing cause? Don't you people want to be able to catch a fish in a clean river? Don't you care about leaving your grandchildren with a planet where they can run in the woods and play in the creeks?

      You all seem so proud of being stupid.

      • bulldog95

        Excuse me, right wingers so incredibly stupid? At what point did anyone commenting on here say anything in the slightest that is poltical?

        The only person I see here making themselves look stupid would be you Meep. You are using a common tactic of the left which is to call people names and label them right wingers, tea party, racist, etc...

        Get over yourself, put down your Obama phone, put down your foodstamps, go get a job, and get a clue.

      • Right

        I agree 100%.

        I have used the TNR method, with 8 cats. Sponsored by the shelter and Cross Lanes Animal Hospital, I paid very little..

        The entire process was easy. Trap, cover it with a towel and take to the vet in the morning. Pick up the cat, inside the trap, in the evening and when you get "home" put the trap on the ground, open ther door and walk away. Finished. Saved a life and it was easy. :)

  • Walsingham

    Here we go again, another "nickel and dime" tax. If a cat does not have proof of ownership it should be captured and destroyed after a reasonable amount of time. Capturing, neutering, and releasing all of these wild cats will be incredibly expensive, nor would it halt their ability to spread disease.