Feral cats becoming major problem on streets of Aiken

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, May 9, 2013

Feral cats

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's breeding season along the streets and in the woods of Aiken County.

"The number's very high this time of the year," said Bobby Arthurs, who works with the Aiken County Animal Shelter.

And the numbers are high for shelters in Aiken like his -- the majority of those are feral cats.

"When it's reverted back to the wild state, it's a feral animal," Arthurs said.

And he says they're not just a danger to your animals.

"They're a danger to folks if they are able to trap them, corner them and pick them up," he said.

Unlike those domesticated cats that he handles everyday, feral cats are a hit or miss when it comes to their health.

"You don't know what they're carrying and they're unvaccinated, they're going bite you," Arthurs said.

And Barbara Nelson would know.

"If you're going to handle a feral cat, be prepared," she said.

Nelson is the president of the SPCA in Aiken.

"Fifty percent of the animals that come into our shelter through our system are cats, and about 70 percent of those cats are feral," she said.

With those statistics, she and others across the county are more conscious of the animals in their backyard.

"The hope that we have as a shelter is that there would be less kittens born because research on the sheltering side says that the population of feral cats will decline," she said.

Arthurs says that it takes just one unfixed male and one unfixed female to cause those numbers to rise even more.

Which would make Arthurs' job that more difficult, and unfortunately, these kittens' lives that much shorter.

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