Fort Worth's battle against feral cat proliferation is taking on a neighborly approach, roping in residents and nonprofits for a citywide cuddle, minus the claws. Gone are the days of prohibition—Fort Worth retracted its ban on feral cats back in 2012, opting instead to let managed cat colonies find a niche in the urban ecosystem. The new strategy is more community potluck than top-down edict, working closely with those on the ground—neighborhood leaders and residents—to shape the ordinance, according to the City of Fort Worth.
It's an approach that could have easily landed on its feet or scampered off up a tree. Yet here we are, with tangible evidence that it's doing the former. By connecting locals with nonprofits, this initiative isn't just curbing the whiskered population but streamlining the process, too—customer service with a cherry on top.
The community is truly getting its paws dirty and does everything from trapping, neutering, and flipping the 'adopt me' sign on countless cats. It's a partnership that spills over the shelter's threshold, with the City Call Center and official webpages serving as springboards for resident action or aid in feral feline dealings. So far in 2023, a whopping 150 cats have been sterilized—a scoreboard update provided by the city—which is a clear sign that this isn't just some yarn-spinning exercise.
When there's an uptick in those more 'nuisance' aspects of feral cat colonies, the dream team bounds into action. The model is so cost-effective that it's got the city thinking about doubling down with education, coordination, and extra spay and neuter services cooked in. Just add community engagement for flavor, suggests the city's playbook as it plots further collaborations with Operation Kindness and Spay Neuter Network in the coming year.