Stray cats pack area shelters

By Jessica Kalin

With the onset of winter and the problem of local animal shelters already being overcrowded, many cats may be left to fend for themselves.

The overpopulation of stray cats in DeKalb has given local shelters cause for concern. Taking Animals Into Loving Shelter Humane Society of DeKalb County has packed its 600-square-foot shelter with cats.

TAILS is in the process of building a 6,000-square-foot shelter, located on Barber Greene Road near the intersection of Barber Greene and Peace roads, but it will not be finished until the end of February.

“Currently, there is no great place to take pets in the winter,” said Beth Drake, TAILS shelter director.

Of the millions of stray cats taken to shelters in the United States, only 1 percent are reclaimed, as opposed to the 50 percent of dogs that are reclaimed, Drake said.

As a no- kill facility, TAILS has reached capacity with stray cats. The facility does not take in dogs but entrusts them to the care of foster homes while they await adoption.

Responsible pet owning is necessary to keep populations down. Drake said the problem comes from people who do not spay or neuter their pets.

The cat problem is so great in DeKalb that TAILS had to post a sign outside of the building asking residents not to leave unwanted animals on the doorstep of the shelter.

TAILS is a big advocate of indoor pets, allowing them to live healthier, longer lives.

Prairie View Animal Hospital, 24 Rich Road, is no longer taking in stray cats.

Sarah Koster, a technician at the hospital, said they are still getting calls every day.

“The winter is the biggest fear because kittens can’t stay outside,” she said.

Koster said some residents have brought in hurt cats to the hospital and, after receiving care, have decided to keep the cats.

Drake said that if residents find a dog, they should call animal control at 748-2425.

Animal control does not pick up stray cats or wildlife, but will provide numbers for the appropriate services.

Both TAILS and Prairie View Animal Hospital have adoption services for cats; TAILS also has adoption for dogs.