A bulging plastic bag sits in the parking area of a grocery storea supermarket. The bag steps and a mild meow is heard. Three one-month old kittycats are found huddled within. Still very much alive, they are given Kootenai Humane Society.

It’s an unfortunate however familiar story. Unwanted kittycats are abundant in Kootenai County and surrounding locations. No one understands how many free-roaming or feral felines live here, but there might be approximately 12,000 feral felines in Kootenai County, stated Vicky Nelson, Development Director of the Kootenai Humane Society.

“We prepare for ferals to be a larger problem than we know,” stated Nelson. “We’re working hard to reduce the free-roaming feline population, but we need the general public’s aid.”

Kootenai County Animal Control Policeman Sandra Osburn said she concurs there is an issue with cat populations, but notes there’s little the county can do since there are no laws needing feline licensing or restricting feline movements.

“Every day I witness so lots of cats running loose, no matter where in the county I travel. And that lacks looking for them,” stated Osburn. “It would be virtually impossible to determine how numerousthe number of of those are actually feral. We receive multiple grievances weekly about all the cats running loose and are questioned about what can be done.”

To fight the issue, Kootenai Humane Society has the trap/neuter/release program to slow down the overpopulation of free-roaming cats. The program was established over One Decade ago.

Here’s how it works:

Individuals can lease a trap for a little charge, trap the cat, transportation it to KHS, have it spayed or neutered – including a rabies shot and an ear-tip – and after that return it to where it was found. In time, their numbers will diminish.

In 2015, 247 feral felines were processed through the program. The Kootenai Humane Society’s goal is handle two times that many this year with a little help from the community. If you know of a feral colony, call KHS -LRB-208-RRB- 772-4019.

“They will offer you directions on how to assist curb our neighborhood’s feral feline population,” Nelson said. “Kittens can be discovered in a range of places, some deserted by the mother feline, others just finding out how to survive. The one common element: They continue to increase. Free-roaming or feral felines can reproduce a number of times a year. Without human intervention, the feral feline population will continue to grow.”

Because KHS is an independent not-for-profit company, financing the program is an obstacle. KHS charges just $15 to have a feral cat decontaminated, including the rabies vaccine and ear-tip surgery. It costs the organization upwards of $50. It’s important is essential to note that sterile felines strolling complimentary can be beneficial.

“Individuals who reside in rural locations like to have a sterilized feline reside in their barn and do their task to keep mice and pesky animals at bay,” says Jennifer Abraham, KHS’s veterinarian specialist.”Feral cats and barns are the perfect match.”

She adds, “Usually, they are not friendly and only want a warm place to stay with food and water. Which’s exactly what we need when embracing them out. We call it the barn cat program. The procedure works well. A feline that can be an annoyance for some ends up being a blessing for somebodyanother person.”