More than 160 stray cats have been identified living in 50 “hot spot” streets in Bulwell at the halfway point of the UK’s first study of the homeless cat population.
Cats Protection launched its Bulwell Cat Watch scheme in September to help control the rising number of stray cats living in the NG6 postcode area.
Residents have been using a combination of social media, a mobile phone app and community events to report cats they know to be living on the streets of Bulwell, an area with 8,000 households.
The survey to chart strays will continue until the end of the year but, with 167 cats now identified, the charity will soon begin targeted neutering of stray cats to help stop numbers spiralling out of control.
Cats Protection’s Neutering Manager Jane Clements explained that, while the number of reported strays was encouraging, the charity believed there were many more living in the area.
She said: “We have had great support from local residents who have helped us identify 167 cats which are living in around 50 hotspot streets.
“We’ve been studying these reports closely and will soon begin door-to-door engagement in these roads to gather more information about these strays and explain the neutering programme.
“The information we’ve received will help us target neutering so we can ensure these cats are neutered and therefore stop numbers getting out of control.
“It’s fantastic to have such detailed information from residents as to where these cats are living and we’d ask they continue to send in their reports.
“We believe there are at least 300 strays living in the area but we need the continued support of residents to track where these cats are.”
Residents are being asked to report sightings of stray cats in the area via a mobile phone app, social media, email, or at drop-in until 16 November at the Crabtree Community Centre on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11am-6pm and at the Bulwell Tesco Community Room on Thursdays and Saturdays between 12-4pm and Fridays from 4pm-8pm.
Jane added that, thanks to the initial batch of reports, the charity would soon begin Trap, Neuter, Return programmes to ensure the stray population cannot be left to breed uncontrollably.
Without neutering, cats are prolific breeders, with females capable of producing up to 18 kittens a year.
She explained that cats would be caught in humane traps, taken to a veterinary surgery for the simple neutering procedure and then returned to their outdoor homes.
She said: “Because many stray cats have been born on the streets, they have not been sufficiently socialised and may be too wary of people to live as domestic pets.”