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Dozens of feral cats managed by Jefferson City caretaker program

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

A small group of people in Jefferson City are in charge of providing food, shelter and care to dozens of stray cats. The goal is to control the population growth of strays and stop the spread of disease.

There are thousands of feral cats in Jefferson City alone," said Jennifer Tergin, who has helped care for feral cats for years. She is one of the caretakers participating in the program.

If left unchecked, she said, "they breed and breed, sick kittens after sick kittens. They become a nuisance to the community."

Currently, there are six locations where 70 felines are registered.

In March, the Jefferson City council approved an ordinance that allows individuals to register colonies of stray cats in specific locations. Each cat is examined at the city animal shelter for diseases. Staff also vaccinate and spay or neuters each animal.

Dr. Jessica Thiele, a veterinarian with the Jefferson City Animal Shelter, said the program helps control the feral cat population and stop the spread of disease.

"(Caretakers are) decreasing the unwanted cat population, so there are fewer cats coming into the shelter, which is taxpayer-funded... and we're making sure that they're vaccinated for rabies," Thiele said.

Every registered cat belongs to one of the six current locations. Each place has spaces for food, water and shelter. A small group caters to each location. Tergin said she is one of two who look after the 24 cats at their spot.

By controlling the population, Tergin said, the risk of the cats becoming a nuisance is reduced.

If these cats didn’t have these shelters, they would probably be looking for some of the abandoned properties to take shelter in. I’m sure everybody’s heard of cats crawling up inside of cars to stay warm," Tergin said.

For more information, contact the Jefferson City Animal Shelter.

Animals / Education / Jefferson City / Jefferson City Government / Jefferson City Video / Top Stories / Top Stories / Video

Barry Mangold

Barry Mangold reports for ABC 17 News on weekday evenings and anchors weekend evening broadcasts.

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