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Fort Macleod taking proactive measures amidst increased cat complaints

Click to play video 'Fort Macleod plans community consultation into feral cat concerns' Fort Macleod plans community consultation into feral cat concerns
WATCH ABOVE: Fort Macleod could be facing a bit of a predicament due to some furry four-legged residents. The town said it’s had an increase in cat complaints. It is now planning consultation to determine if they are feral cats or free-roaming pets. Quinn Campbell reports.

The Town of Fort Macleod is experiencing a spike in cat complaints.

Now officials are looking into the issue, in hopes of grabbing the problem by the tail and stopping it in its tracks.

“Complaints have stepped up a little bit about roaming cats and the amount of cats in town,” Liisa Gillingham, director of community and protective services with Fort Macleod said.

“Our goal is to present the council with some information on options that are available to us to see if we can mitigate the problem.”

READ MORE: Record number of cats being adopted, survey of Canadian shelters shows

At this time, Gillingham said it’s not known how many feral or roaming cats are residing in the town, or if they’re simply pets.

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But, with no local humane society or cat licensing program in the area to help track the numbers, Gillingham added that public engagement is the best way to move forward at this time.

“One of the first pieces of the public engagement that we will be holding is to find out what the public perception of this is,” she said.

“Do we have a wild cat and feral problem? Or is it a community cat problem?”

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Cats’ faces can reveal hidden pain: U of C study

Gillingham hopes through this consultation, community members will volunteer to help with cat counts to determine if a “Trap Neuter Return cat program” is needed.

“It really helps mitigate the population, and also it allows the cat to have some vet care and then they are just returned humanely to their own environment,” she said.

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Gillingham said if this is a wild cat issue, then the problem could quickly escalate, and with no intervention, she added that 12 cats can spiral into more than 11 million in just nine years.

“If you have 15 female cats that are wandering about, then that’s 15 litters and you’re looking at five to nine kittens every litter,” she said.

READ MORE: Many animal welfare workers suffer from compassion fatigue: Humane Canada

No date has been confirmed for the public consultation yet.

Fort Macleod is located about 50 km west of Lethbridge.