City shelter to stop accepting trapped cats

Beginning April 1, the City of Great Falls Animal Shelter will no longer accept trapped cats in an effort to eliminate housing and euthanizing feral cats.

“After careful consideration of the cost to care for and euthanize feral cats, coupled with the risk it poses to the staff, we will no longer be in-taking trapped cats to the shelter,” Ameilia Caldwell, shelter operations manager, said in a city release. “This will save lives and free up resources for those animals that truly need our care.”

Citizens who can safely and humanely contain lost and abandoned domestic pet cats in a standard animal carrier may bring them to the shelter.

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The shelter cautions that citizens should only handle animals that willingly approach them and are willing to be picked up.

Cats in traps are predominately feral, according to the shelter, which are unsocialized outdoor cat who have either never had any physical contact with humans, or human contact has diminished enough over time that they are no longer accustomed to it. They are adept at finding their own resources in their natural environment. Feral cats thrive outdoors and are not reliant on people, according to the shelter.

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“Humans are unfamiliar and scary to them. When held captive these animals will fight to get away. This makes them dangerous to themselves, the staff at the facility and unsafe to adopt to the public,” according to the shelter. “As such, feral cats brought into our facility are held and cared for during their legal stray hold time before being euthanized.”

That process is traumatic for the cat and the staff, as well as costly and in 2022, the shelter euthanized 106 feral cats, according to the city.

More information on feral cats in the community and how to live with them is here.