Stray cat colonies populate Newark, generate concern
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Senior Matt Ulloa, who lives in the University Courtyards apartment complex, said he has noticed a large number of stray cats outside of the apartments.
Ulloa said on one occasion a stray cat followed and climbed into his car.
“I think people are getting tired of cats and throwing them away,” Ulloa said.
Holly Powers, an alumna who is now studying veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate school, said she attributes the large amount of stray cats in the area due to breeding.
“A lot of it comes from that the stray cats aren’t spayed or neutered so they keep reproducing,” Powers said.
Some cats run away when people let their cats outside, but, unfortunately, sometimes they do not come back, she said.
Junior Lizzy Neely has also seen an abundance of cats living near her Haines Street house.
“This year we are across from Russell and I’ve seen five stray cats, at least three are adults,” Neely said.
During the summer, Neely and her roommates had four kittens living on their property. Neely says they took two of the kittens to the vet and one of her friends’ adopted the two. Neely does not agree with the idea of adopting strays, however, since she is aware of the many diseases they can carry.
Leanne Kress, a volunteer coordinator at the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to the Animals, said she believes the strays are a result of both unsprayed and unneutered cats breeding as well as owners abandoning their former pets. Since the Delaware SPCA opened in 2000, they have neutered 15,000 dogs and cats, according to Kress.
Powers also warned students against being too friendly with the stray cats. She said she thinks many residents believe they are helping the stray cats by feeding them and giving them water. However, she said cats are not vulnerable creatures and can adapt to a life outdoors.
Kress believes strays frequent Newark in larger numbers since food is more accessible because of students and businesses.
“The [former] Chrysler plant used to have a ton of cats and the rescue would come and trap them,” Kress said. “They are trying to find different resources to survive.”
Powers believes people who feed stray cats will keep them coming back.She also said stray cats may fight over the food residents provide for them, so it may cause more problems than solutions. Powers suggests residents call a shelter to care for the stray cat.
Ulloa said he is worried about the safety of the cats on campus.
“Cats themselves can get injured, they could get run over by a car, or by other animals,” Ulloa said.
Kress said the Delaware SPCA is doing its best to trap cats, spay them and then release them back into the area.
“We don’t get funding so when we are full, we are full,” Kress said. “We try to make sure that we will spay and neuter every cat we have here, but we are all at capacity doing the best we can.”
Powers said she believes people should support the programs that spay and neuter cats, since this will decrease the amount of stray cats on the streets. Another way residents can help is to adopt the strays, Powers said.