Twin Falls has a very bad feral cat situation. A recent story by a local news station highlighted the continuing problem in which the flames are being fanned by many city residents.

There is one constant when I carry garbage out to the bins behind my home on trash day, and that is the presence of stray cats walking throughout properties that line the alleyway. Some I recognize as area strays, and others show up with great regularity on just about a weekly basis.

Our area shelters are full of lost and abandoned cats. It's become a very serious problem, and one that was featured in a recent Idaho News 6 story. The May 26 feature dealt with the city's feral cat issue, and also shared information on how we can help curb the mounting complication.

I see strays getting fed every week. I understand that people who love cats don't want to see them starving on city streets, but those who continue to do this are part of the problem. The issue is most people can't tell the difference between a stray and a feral cat. When feral cats find a food source they can regularly depend on, they can continue to produce more and more kittens.

Feral cats reproduce near populated areas. If they can't find food left in bowls set out by people, they have to resort to small animals such as mice and lizards, which often lead them back into more rural areas. Cats not spayed or neutered can contribute to the birth of more than 20 offspring a year, according to

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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