Wild, stray cats — also known as feral cats — are usually the offspring of cats who were lost or abandoned by their owners, and they grow up not socialized to humans.

It is estimated there are between 60-100 million feral cats in the U.S., according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The city of Burleson recently implemented a new program at its animal shelter to not only help control the feral cat population within city limits, but to also give those cats a purpose.

It’s called the Barn Cat Program, which places feral cats with families looking for a cat to keep mice away from their property. 

Burleson Animal Services Manager Kim Peckler said the city has been working on developing the program for about eight months.

“There are a couple of other cities that do this, so we’ve talked to them to get information for policies and procedures,” she said. “There are certain things you have to do to qualify for the program.”

Peckler said the program is not for residents who live in a community, but rather those who have property with a barn, stable, garage or warehouse. 

“We trap these cats in neighborhoods and we have them neutered or spayed,” she said. “You must adopt a minimum of two cats, but they are free. The city will cover the spay or neuter and the rabies vaccination.”

Peckler said the city wanted to find a way to rescue these cats, because many times they are euthanized.

“We are trapping about 30-40 cats each month,” she said. “A lot of times people just want them off their property. There are cats out there just breeding and breeding. We just want another outlet for these kitties, to give them a job, where they won’t be a nuisance.

“For this program, we won’t trap cats and hold them at the shelter. Rather, when someone comes in and says they want some feral cats, then we will go out and trap them and call them when we have them. It is a good way to save more lives.”

Those interested in adopting feral cats can visit the shelter, 775 S.E. John Jones Drive, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

For information call the shelter at 817-426-9283.

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