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St. Charles County Connection e-Newsletter Articles

Posted on: March 24, 2022

Barn Cats Work to Help St. Charles County

Barn Cat

Hundreds of feral cats can be found in colonies around St. Charles County. Because a female cat and her offspring can generate more than 400,000 kittens in just a few years, overpopulation quickly becomes a nuisance to the communities that surround these colonies.

Instead of just removing the cats from the area and having more return to that location in the immediate future, controlling the population is the best long-term solution. Through St. Charles County’s Sterile Feral program, Division of Humane Services staff and dedicated volunteers work with residents to trap feral cats. Then, the animal can be spayed/neutered to stop the breeding cycle that causes overpopulation and treated to prevent the spread of illness. Following that, the cat is returned to the location where he/she was found. …MORE

“These wild cats are not socialized to humans and cannot adapt to indoor living, so they are not suitable for being adopted as pets,” says Division of Humane Services Director Katie Willis. “But they can play an important role as barn cats and vermin control. By trapping and treating the animals, we can minimize the problems from overpopulation and reduce the risk for illnesses affecting cats and other creatures.”

In instances where conditions do not allow treated cats to return to the area where they were trapped, staff places them with a dedicated caregiver who operates a farm, warehouse, plant nursery, winery or other areas that are common habitat for unwanted rodents. In return for safe shelter, routine care and regular feeding, the cats “earn” their keep by reducing vermin around their new home. An additional benefit of the program is that these treated populations can help to discourage unwanted stray cats from entering the property and restarting the breeding cycle.

Over the last three years, the Division of Humane Services has treated and returned nearly 600 cats to caregivers seeking vermin control services. There is no fee for adopting barn cats through St. Charles County, but caregivers must commit to ensuring the life-long well-being of the animal. If you operate a facility and are interested in barn cats, please contact the Pet Adoption Center at 636-949-7387. To improve the welfare of the animals, staff encourages interested caregivers to plan on accepting more than one cat through the program.

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