Morgantown's 'Feline Frenzy' a reminder to get pets fixed

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Matthew Antonucci has lived in the South Park area of Morgantown for a little more than a year now.

He lives there with his dog Daisey, but she hasn't had the best of times in the neighborhood.

She, like other residents of the area, have dealt with the Feline Frenzy that's resulted in stray cats roaming the area en masse.

"it seems like it just keeps getting worse," Antonucci said.

He said he's been to the vet several times since getting Daisey about a year ago, including one time when she was attacked by a neighborhood cat.

"I know last summer, my dog was getting worms," Antonucci said. "My vet said it was the stray cats and the cat poop on the trail."

Cats running loose has been a problem for years here. Appalachian Peace Paws Rescue is a local non-profit working to curb the problem.

A representative told 5 News they're implementing a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program there. They work on humanely catching cats, getting them fixed, vaccinated and get their ears tipped before returning them to their home colony.

"Returning them to the area stops new cats from moving into the area and also stops the current population from growing," said Alyssa Shade, who runs the TNR program and is on the board.

The TNR program also gets rid of problem behaviors in the cats including spraying porches, fighting, and other problems.

She said they've completed this with more than 15 cats in Antonucci's area. The group currently manages 18 colonies between the Monongalia, Marion and Preston County areas. In all, 200 cats have gone through the TNR program in the last two years.

Lauren Martin, who is also with Appalachian Peace Paws Rescue, said it's important to know humans are responsible for the cat problems.

"We hear about the bad things about having community cats around, and the negative effects they can have on wildlife," Martin said. "But they're just doing what they do because at some point someone allowed them to breed."

She said it's important cats get fixed as the group tries to find those who are feeding the South Park colony.

"We are asking folks who are caring for the colony to message us so we can work together to get the cats fixed and vaccinated," Martin said.