Volunteers needed to stop surge of feral cats in Stoke-on-Trent
Volunteers are wanted to catch stray cats in traps – to stop colonies of feral moggies spiralling out of control.
One animal charity has reported up to 40 feral cats roaming around some Stoke-on-Trent neighbourhoods.
Now charities RSPCA and Cats Protection are asking people with spare time on their hands to catch the homeless animals by luring them into humane traps with bits of food.
The trap-neuter-release (TNR) scheme works by trapping cats and then taking them to a vet where they have a health check and are neutered.
Each cat is then tagged to make sure it is not examined again.
With the permission of the site owner, the cats are then released back to their original territory following treatment.
It can take hours to trap a stray cat.
RSPCA spokesman Judith Haw said: "The scheme aims to effectively and humanely control feral cat populations in the city.
"Stoke-on-Trent has a high number of feral cat colonies and they can quickly become a nuisance."
Once a cat colony has been identified, TNR volunteers are sent to trap the cats and kittens.
Problem areas include Shelton, Longton, Tunstall and Fenton.
Miss Haw added: "The TNR can involve a lot of patience on the part of the volunteer as feral cats are naturally wary animals having had little or no human contact.
"We are keen to hear from local people who want to help improve the welfare of feral felines in their area. "Volunteers work from home reporting to a local contact who manages and updates their workload.
"Full training as well as expenses, equipment and material are provided by the charities."
Information collected by volunteers will also be used to help other groups around the country develop their own cat welfare programmes.
Diane Bee, co-ordinator for charity Cats Protection in North Staffordshire, said: "We are getting more and more colonies of abandoned cats and we need to do something about them before it spirals out of control.
"The problem starts when someone abandons a cat which isn't neutered and it starts having kittens.
"We've had people get in touch to report up to 40 wild cats in some neighbourhoods which still need feeding but, because they are wild, we can't find homes for them.
"The volunteers need to be physically fit and have time on their hands, because it can often take a few hours to successfully trap a single cat."
Anyone interested in volunteering can email [email protected] or call 07834 802625.
Source: This is Stafford Shire