Residents say feral cats more than a nuisance

Urinating on basement windows, leaving feces in backyards and attacking household pets are some of the offenses blamed on the ever-growing number of feral cats in Colonie, and residents said they are fed up with the lack of action from the town.

Julie Poulin, Jeanine McCarten and Barbra Ebel said they have been forced to take matters into their own hands to deal with a recent surge of feral cats wandering the streets of North Elmhurst and Rooney avenues by setting up traps and taking the animals to local animal to have them spayed and neutered.

This has been taking up our time, Poulin said. "You wake up in the morning and you look out the window, 'Are there any cats out there?' You come home from work and you look out the window, 'Are there any cats out there?' You go out and you look in the bushes, 'Are there any cats in there?' It's been preoccupying all of us."

Feral cats, which are different from stray cats, are essentially wild cats since they never been domesticated as they were born from stray cats.

The women pleaded with the Colonie Town Board to do something with these feral cats at a Thursday, July 15, meeting, where they were told the town would look into the situation.

Ebel described an instance during this past winter where she and her husband were in the basement when a feral cat came and sprayed on the basement window. The stench of urine was so bad, according to Ebel, it forced the couple out of the basement. They then had to take a pail of hot water to wash off the urine.

"And that smell isn't easy to get rid of," she said. "It's just sickening.

McCarten said her main concern is zoonotic diseases, which can be transferred from animals to humans. One of the diseases she discussed was Bartonella, also known as cat scratch disease, which occurs when a human is bitten or scratched by a cat, causing the lymph nodes of the head, neck and upper limbs to swell up after an infection, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website. The infection may also cause symptoms such as a fever and a headache.

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