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Residents say feral cats more than a nuisance

McCarten said she was advised to have one of the cats she took to the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society checked for Bartonella, which the cat tested positive for.

"When we went to the Town Board meeting in the middle of the month, that was one of the things that we wanted to impress on them," McCarten said. "That it's not just they're a nuisance, but that it's really, truly a healthcare issue."

The women have set up traps in their backyards to catch the felines, and they said they have seen the animals that travel with the captured cat sit around and look on in confusion.

Executive Director of the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society Brad Shear said the best recommendation he can give to solving this problem is the Trap Neuter Return method. With TNR, a captured cat is taken to an animal shelter to be spayed or neutered and have the tip of its left ear clipped so it can be identified as already fixed.

"We will help by spaying or neutering them," Shear said. "We can't take the cats in because they do not socialize well."

Controlling the population of feral cats is Shear's main objective, which he said has become a national problem. In just Colonie alone, nearly 22,000 cats live in homes, according to Shear. He said the number of cats living on the streets is similar.

Shear advises residents to not feed the cats because they are already well adapted outdoors and likely have a food source.

"I think people want to do the right thing by feeding them," he said.

One of Poulin's neighbor's, Paul Koren, feeds many of the cats that wander into his backyard. He even is keeping one of the kittens in his house.

"I love all animals," he said. "I guess I'm just a sucker for them."

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