Efforts to sterilize feral cats making a difference, advocates say

Efforts to sterilize feral cats making a difference, advocates say

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Feral cat colonies can be found around the island. And new estimates put the size of the feral cat population on Oahu at 300,000.

That's actually believed to be smaller than in previous years, thanks to widespread efforts to sterilize feral cats.

Animal welfare nonprofit Poi Dogs and Popoki teaches people how to catch feral cats so they can transported for sterilization. President Alicia Maluafiti said rural areas of Oahu have the largest populations of feral cats because it's been hardest to catch them there.

The Humane Society has a similar sterilization program.

"We sterilize cats and then we return them back to you," said Christina Kam, of the Humane Society. "You return it to the colony and we ask that you help manage that colony, which means making sure that those cats are healthy, they're being fed."

She said people who just feed wild cats and those who abandon their pets hurt efforts to reduce the feral cat population.

"People assume there's a colony and someone's caring for them, I can leave my cat there. But it's not the right thing to do," she said. "Those poor cats don't know how to fend for themselves. Then you're just adding to the problem."

And it's a problem that can grow quickly.

Maluafiti said female cats can have six to eight kittens in a litter up to three times a year.

"We continue to rescue kittens, get them socialized and get them adopted," she said. "That number is never going to go down unless we deal with the feral cats."

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