The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Feral cats growing issue


June 6, 2009

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis resident Darrin Floyd has appealed to his landlord and the city’s Animal Control for help with a feral cat colony that has taken over his neighborhood on North Prince Street.

As dark settles, they begin to prowl, abandoning sun-drenched patches in exchange for morsels from trash cans, scratching and scuffling in the shadows, the still night air shattered by piercing shrieks and yowls as they croon to one another, hunt, fight — and search for mates.

In the dark, Clovis becomes a cat town, the ever-growing number of feral cats stirs and comes to life.

More than half of the cats euthanized last year by animal control were feral cats.

Last year, Animal Control captured 422, or an average of 35 cats a month.

Peak seasons are warmer months in early spring, summer and fall.

Scratching the surface

Inherent wildness and the ability of the feral cat population to grow exponentially is a problem, Clovis police Lt. Jim Schoeffel said.

“It’s a widespread problem,” he said. “If you don’t catch them, it just gets bigger — They just keep multiplying if you let them go.”

While the city’s goal is to find adoptive homes, Schoeffel said feral cats, or cats gone wild, are rarely able to adapt to domestic life as a pet.

“(Animal control officers) try to test the temperament on all the cats that come in, but there’s not much your going to be able to do with it, if it’s spinning in the cage hissing,” he said.

And as wild cats living on the streets, they may be exposed to feline diseases and other health risks.

“They’re digging through the trash, they’re wild,” Schoeffel said.

Cat problem hits home

Darrin Floyd knows the problem all too well.

The 46-year-old resident of the Lakeview mobile home park


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