Cats Run Rampant in Texas Prison


An Austin animal shelter was asked to help with a cat problem at a Texas prison. | Image by Austin Pets Alive!

A Texas prison is seeking outside help to combat a growing cat population after bringing in the felines to deal with a persistent rat infestation.

The cats were brought to the prison a few years ago in order to cull the rats at the facility. The solution, however, soon bred a new problem as the cats began reproducing since they were not neutered or spayed.

The prison, which has not been publicly identified, is coordinating with Austin Pets Alive (APA) to help get their rampant cat population under control. Staff members told KXAN that while the prison started with two or three cats, their numbers increased to around 20.

A senior manager for APA’s cat program, Kelly Holt, shared that cats from the Texas prison are being taken to the APA center when they are caught.

“We wanted to help out and bring some of the cats (to the center) where we could get them the medical attention that they need and place them in forever homes,” Holt explained.

A recent trip to the prison allowed the staff to catch five of the cats. Holt shared that some needed medical treatment.

One of the cats had Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), which is nicknamed “wobbly cat syndrome.” As the name suggests, the condition causes the affected cat to wobble as it walks.

While some of the cats captured at the prison can be adopted, others will become part of the APA working cat program. This initiative uses cats’ predatory instincts to address rodent problems experienced by their clients, similar to how they were being used at the prison.

“I think it’s great that prisons are utilizing working cat programs. I think it’s just important to note that spaying and neutering the cats is really key to making those programs work best,” Holt shared.

The APA staff will return to the prison soon to continue catching the remaining cats.

Austin Pets Alive was founded in 1997 to reduce the euthanasia rate of Austin animals by helping them find suitable homes. Today, APA claims that the city has a 97% savings rate and is the biggest “No Kill” city in the U.S.

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1 month ago

So grateful that there’s a program like this in Texas. Cats Rule, I’d love to operate a Cat Sanctuary for homeless cats if my health would allow it. I’m missing my own little rescue while I recuperate in the hospital from Covid-19. God bless those caring people who rescue and feed homeless cats.