Feral cat population becoming a problem in Columbia Park

TRI-CITIES, WA - KEPR has learned there's a growing cat problem in Columbia Park. A few stray cats has grown into a few dozen stray cats. And they're making a meal out of local wildlife. We looked at what's being done to solve the problem.

Feral cats have been running rampant in the Tri-Cities for years. But there's been a burst of them along the Audubon Trail in Kennewick. Litters and litters of stray cats are also killing off birds.

Karana Gudino walks the Audubon Trail everyday. She sees the cats all the time and feels bad for them.

"I think the cats are just looking for food and get close to the people, people love cats and give them food," said Gudino.

Tri-City Animal Control has started setting up traps around the park to catch the wild cats and stop them from harming wildlife. A guesstimate on their population suggests there may be more than 50 unvaccinated cats on the loose in Columbia Park. Rescue groups are also helping catch the tamer ones to find them homes. Many feral cats are unable to domesticated and need to be put to sleep.

"There is no hard feeling about cats, it's just that this interaction of cats and birds isn't beneficial to either one," said Audubon President Robin Priddy.

Robin Priddy is a cat owner herself, but she also loves birds. It's why Robin keeps her cat indoors to protect it and the birds.

"Because the cats get hungry and if there is food around they will try to eat it," said Priddy.

Which is why Kennewick doesn't want the cats in the park at all. They hope to round up most of the cats within the coming weeks and bring safety for wildlife and visitors back to Columbia Park.

If the cats are captured by animal control and deemed to be fully feral animal control has three-days to put them down.