EUGENE, Ore -- Almost 400,000 people roam the streets of Lane County. Along with them? As many as 45,000 feral felines, cats without owners that live wild in the street -- and breed like, well, cats.
"Just a couple un-spayed, un-neutered cats can reproduce relatively quickly and it just grows exponentially," said Cary Lieberman, executive director of Greenhill Humane Society.
"We do have a feral cat problem in Lane County," Lieberman said. "Primarily they are just out there reproducing. In our community the weather is such that they can breed year-round."
The cats used to be killed, but not anymore. Every week Greenhill Humane Society and Lane County Animal Services spay and neuter more than 60 cats. It's a quick snip that Lieberman said makes a big difference.
"When I first arrived in Lane County, we would take in 500-600 feral cats a year," said Lane County Animal Services Supervisor Tom Howard. "You cannot handle them. They are pretty wild. They were just euthanized."
The trap, neuter, release program is just a year old.
"I think after a few years of trap and release we will begin to see the profit of it by attrition," Howard said, "and we will reduce the number of cats that are out there."
Howard said you should not pet feral cats. They are considered wild animals and are not used to human contact. If you want to bring one in to get fixed, call Lane County Animal Services and they will help you trap it.