Phenix City says they’ve received many complaints about the number of cats at Idle Hour Park.
“They’re getting up into the neighborhoods, they’re bothering people that are trying to enjoy the park. When people rent the pavilion to have a family picnic they get swarmed by cats jumping up on the table and getting into the food,” Stephen Smith, Phenix City assistant city manager said.
Smith says there are around 50 cats in Idle Hour Park and they plan to reach out to organizations to trap them. Some joggers who frequently visit the park say they’ve noticed the cats, but didn’t think it was that big of an issue.
Brandon Barnes says he comes to the park at least once a week and sees them on his run, but they’re never been a problem for him.
“They don’t really bother anybody for the most part. They just run around and do cat stuff I guess,” Barnes said.
Pat Swift says she understands the city wants to keep the park clean and control the wildlife population, but she says just because the cats are placed in the shelter doesn’t mean they’ll all find a home.
“They may have too much feral in them you know to be put into a cat room so to speak and people may come in and say ‘oh that’s a beautiful cat and all and I want to adopt it’ some are going to be adoptable but we just don’t know how feral these cats really,” Swift said.
Swift owns Pats Rescue Cats, a nonprofit organization that rescues cats that shelters would rather euthanize. Swift says the city should look into the trap, neuter, and release method which will control the population and not put the animals at risk of being euthanized, but Smith says if you want to help you should adopt.
“If you’re concerned about the cats, don’t go feed them, take one home,” Smith said.
Smith says they don’t plan to trap all of the cats. They want to keep some in the park to help with rodents and snakes.
Smith says he encourages park visitors not to feed the wild animals. He adds the city plans to put up even more signs throughout the park.