News: Stray and feral cats: Osceola County’s problem

Published Fri March 2, 2018

The problem explained

Osceola County has a community cat problem, which means we have a large number of free roaming, intact and unvaccinated cats. Each year, particularly in the spring and summer, residents turn in to the shelter hundreds of kittens that are born to these community cats. These cats may be stray, feral, or owned.

Thanks to our robust foster care program, more kittens were saved in 2017 than in any previous year, but we are bracing for another very active kitten season this year.  New foster homes are always needed and appreciated.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or volunteer in some other way, please click here.

Being a foster parent is a tremendous help; but even with those great resources, it isn’t enough. We have to take steps to reduce the number of cats/kittens in our community which will result in enhanced public health and reduced animal suffering and euthanasia.

The Problem:

  • Every intact (not spayed) female cat can produce up to three litters per year; about 100 kittens in her lifetime.

  • This large population of cats can pose problems for people in our community including spraying, fighting, yowling, urination and defecation on private property, and more.

  • These uncontrolled populations also lead to horrible suffering and death for the animals. Only one in four of a litter are expected to survive in these populations. The others are killed by predation, exposure to the elements, disease, and starvation.

  • Each of those female kittens can reproduce at the same rate once they reach about six months of age. One male cat can impregnate an unlimited number of females. It is easy to see how the population can get out of control very quickly.

  • Unvaccinated animals, dogs and cats, are susceptible to rabies and other deadly and painful diseases.

  • It is estimated that Osceola County alone has between 50,000 and 60,000 community cats at this time.

We are also partnering with the SNiP-it (spay/neuter is prevention) clinic and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando on this undertaking.