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El Paso Animal Services sees ‘challenging’ rise in feral cat population

EL PASO, Texas — The population of feral cats is quickly growing in El Paso’s neighborhoods as adult females are giving birth to more kittens than usual.

The interim director of Animal Services, Ramon Herrera, says this population boom is thanks to warmer weather that has extended the breeding season. Normally, cats breed in El Paso from March to October, but Herrera says they could be breeding until December this year. 

A cat will normally have three litters, or 12 kittens, per year, but because of the longer breeding season, one cat can now give birth to up to 16 kittens. 

“If they have a litter in the beginning of the year, by mid-year that litter will be able to have kittens of its own,” Herrera said as he was explaining how quick the population can exponentially grow. 

Animal Services is trying to ramp up the number of spay and neuters they can do by asking skilled veterinarians to travel to El Paso for one week to have what Herrera deemed a “spay/neuter-athon.” 

“We could be doing about 800 spay/neuters in an one week period. That will allow us to catch up,” Herrera said. 

As they work on getting veterinarians to make the trip, Animal Services is asking for help from the community. If you see a collection of feral cats in your neighborhood, the best thing to do is to call Animal Services or other cat organizations like TNR El Paso and Sun City Cats. 

The organizations will come out and set traps for you and take the cat to surgery. 

You can also invest in a device that emits ultrasonic sound waves that only cats can hear. You can place them in your front yard and it will repel cats away from your garden. 

Those devices can be found at pet stores and online on Amazon. They average around $30. Animal Services will lend them out to you to test them to see if you would like to purchase it. 

Dylan McKim

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