Tackling The Feral Cat Problem In An Iowa Tourist Spot

Spirit Lake, Iowa — The Humane Society of Northwest Iowa has launched a program to try to address the feral cat problem in Dickinson County.

Free-ranging and feral cats can spread disease and prey on native wildlife. Haley Dirks, director of the Humane Society of Northwest Iowa, says several communities in the Iowa Great Lakes area have concerns about a growing population of stray cats.

The organization began a “TNR” program on January 1st.

Dirks says an aggressive trap, neuter, and release program in Palo Alto County has greatly reduced the feral cat population in that county. Some of Iowa’s larger cities, like Coralville, have similar programs. Cedar Rapids officials say there are more feral cats within city limits than after the 2008 flood and they’re seeking public input about a city ordinance to trap, neuter, and release feral cats. Private donors have helped launch the program in Dickinson County, but Dirks says they’re looking for volunteers to help trap cats. The USDA estimates there are as many as 100 million feral cats in the United States. Females have an average of five kittens per litter, and males are responsible for seven pregnancies per year.