Orange County Animal Services is looking for ideas from the public to handle the pet-overpopulation problem.
Director Bob Morotto said many cats are "unaffiliated" with a specific owner and haven't been spayed. They have high mortality rates and can spread disease to domesticated cats.
Morotto said the coming warm weather means "kitten season" is around the corner. That's when cats begin having litters on litters, causing the population to spike.
“The massive number that come to us within that half year time is a challenge in terms of shelter and care, and it's also a challenge in terms of the capacity our own program has and other programs have to re-home these animals,” he said.
Morotto said nearly 1,500 cats came to area shelters last year, and about 85 percent found homes. Unadopted cats are euthanized.
Orange County Commissioners have asked the Animal Services Free Roaming Cat Task Force to come up with a plan to reduce the number of stray cats in the area.
Morotto said a plan will probably involve more aggressive spay-and-neuter and adoption campaigns, but he wants area residents to help brainstorm for solutions that fit the local community. Morrotto said he’ll recognize success when kitten season becomes a thing of the past.
“It not only produces the kittens that come to our shelter, but it produces the kittens that often replenish that free-roaming cat population in our community.”
The Orange County Animal Services Free-Roaming Cat Task Force will host a public meeting at 6:45 tonight at the Animal Control offices at 1601 Eubanks Rd, Chapel Hill.