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Feral cats now considered invasive species in Idaho

"The good news is, if you look around this cattery today, you'll see the impact of spay and neuter because we have very few cats in this cattery and it used to be completely overwhelmed this time of year, year after year." (KBOI Staff Photo)

The Western Governors Association released the top 50 invasive species in our region and one addition to the list may surprise you.

Feral cats.

And while the association is calling for euthanizing these animals, the Idaho Humane Society is stepping up to help these animals find loving homes.

"Most of the plants we find in our yards are also invasive non-native species, many of the birds we see every single day are invasive species."

Dr. Rosenthal, veterinarian and CEO of the Idaho Humane Society, says that invasive species are nothing new to Idaho, including feral cats.

"What's an invasive species? It's a non-native species that can cause environmental harm, and certainly all our domestic animals fit into that category whether they're farm animals, whether they're cats, or whether they're dogs," Rosenthal says.

Rosenthal says while he agrees that feral cats are invasive, he says, the Western Governors Associations methods are what concern him.

"It's the statement they made that they are encouraging the eradication of these species," he said. "We don't want those efforts directed towards America's most popular pet."

That's why the Idaho Humane Society is trying to help in a humane way.

"We've had a long involvement in helping to control the free roaming cat population. which consists of feral cats and cats that belong to people that roam in a community."

Dr. Rosenthal says one program is called SPOT - it stands for stop pet overpopulation today.

It offers affordable spay and neuter options in the Treasure Valley,

And helps sterilize feral cats, and then returning them to their environment.

"What has been effective is trap neuter and return efforts, or trap spay return efforts and keeping their cats indoors," says Rosenthal.

He says all of these efforts are safe for the environment, our pets, and other wildlife, as well as effective in controlling the overall feral and domestic cat populations.

And it's entirely supported by donors.

"The good news is, if you look around this cattery today, you'll see the impact of spay and neuter because we have very few cats in this cattery and it used to be completely overwhelmed this time of year, year after year."

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