Cat populations in Texas prisons surge after ‘working’ cats sent to hunt mice

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texas prison has adopted several barn cats to help with its rat problem. Because the cats were not neutered or neutered, after a few years, they ended up having cat problems too.

Austin pets are alive! They were contacted by a Texas prison, which asked not to be named because of feline infestation issues on their premises. The staff said that the prison started with two or three cats and ended up with nearly 20 cats.

Working cats are often found in barns, homes, or prisons to help mitigate a rat infestation. APEC! Said they were effective in controlling rodent populations.

“It’s a great idea,” said Kelly Holt, senior manager of the APA! Cats Program. “Where the problem started was the cats weren’t neutered. So they’re now breeding and dealing with overpopulation.”

Holt added: “We want to help by taking some of the cats[to the center]where we can give them the medical care they need and place them in forever homes.”

When shelter workers went to the jail for the last time, they caught five cats roaming the yard. Holt says APA! Will be back on site shortly to complete the work.

Holt said it was great that they were able to bring the cats to the center because some cats have medical conditions that require expert care. For example, a cat has cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), sometimes called cat wobbler syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes cats to — you guessed it — wobble when they walk. The condition is neither contagious nor painful to the animal.

Holt said some of the cats they rescued from prison are up for adoption. Felines that aren’t well-suited to living indoors may find their way into APA!’s Working Cat Program, where they’ll be deployed to other locations where rodent populations need to be controlled, she added. APEC! Staff named the cats after local print journalist Andrea Ball, who is also a shelter volunteer.

Holt says APA! All working cats are definitely spayed and neutered, so clients who adopt these animals don’t have problems like prisons.

“I think it’s great that prisons are taking advantage of the working cat program,” Holt said. “I think it’s important to note that neutering and neutering cats is really key to making these programs work best.”

If interested in adopting one of these kittens or cats, please visit Austin Pets Alive! website.

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