Feral Cat Population Increase In Palm Springs Neighborhood Prompts Health Concerns

Feral Cat Population Increase In Palm Springs Neighborhood Prompts Health Concerns

Martín Di Felice

Palm Springs, CA

People in the movie colony east neighborhood in Palm Springs say the feral cat population there is exploding and it could cause serious health problems for some.

"Over the past few weeks and months, I’ve seen an increase in the number of feral cats. There are probably, on this street alone, 20 to 30 feral cats," said neighborhood resident Dr. Les Zendle.

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According to the Palm Springs Animal Shelter there are about five thousand homeless felines in the city and anywhere between 25 and 30 thousand valley wide.

"Sometimes we see them on the street, sometimes they go through neighbors yards. I know every time my dogs bark, it’s usually because a feral cat is running along the fence," said Dr, Zendle.

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While they may be adorable, some of the kitties can be dangerous and Dr. Zendle knows a thing or two about some of the risks associated with feral cats. Namely a disease called toxoplasmosis.

"Women who are pregnant, people with HIV and AIDS, or people that have cancer and on chemotherapy, they have to stay away from cats, particularly cat feces, because they can be infected by taxoplasmosis," said Dr. Zendle.

The disease can lead to severe illness that affects your brain, blood and gastrointestinal tract, so the Palm Springs Animal Shelter is hitting the streets to trap neuter and release.

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"It tends to be more concentrated in low income areas. So while every neighborhood throughout Palm Springs has homeless cats. It tends to be particularly bad in mobile home parks and also pockets up against the mountain," said Keith Zabel.