Leaders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex say it’s time to do something about the growing population of feral cats around the stadium. They don’t choose to get rid of feral cats, but rather manage the growth of this group of felines.
Henry Gardner, executive director of the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority, told the Coliseum Board of Commissioners on Friday that he wanted to clarify his thoughts on feral cats.
“I want it to be clear on the record that we need to celebrate and honor these cats because while they created some nuisance for us, they did a superior job of getting rid of all other rodents,” said said Gardner.
“The feral cats have worked very hard and been very successful, they have multiplied in number, and now we have to come up with a plan that allows us to at least control the population,” he continued.
The Coliseum worked with the city and Oakland Animal Services to develop this plan.
Oakland Animal Services Director Ann Dunn says her estimate is that there are about 100 cats around the Colosseum, with about half on the property itself and the other half in the surrounding area.
“If we were to remove these cats, it would just mean that different cats would enter this territory,” she said, adding that no one is talking about removing the cats at this time.
Dunn explained that her staff will help remove the kittens from the Colosseum, but otherwise their role will be to neuter and neuter the Colosseum cats so they stop breeding.
She said there might be a few coliseum cats that are being socialized and if so, they can be put up for adoption. But Dunn expects most cats are unsocialized and fail to be adopted.
NBC Bay Area Crews spotted only two feral cats at the Coliseum on Friday, but Dunn noted that the feral cats tend to only come out in the middle of the night.
“So there’s probably a lot of cats that you just don’t see, even if they’re just there,” she added.
Coliseum staff members told NBC Bay Area of their experiences finding cats hiding in their golf carts and under their cars.
At the commissioners’ meeting on Friday, Gardner acknowledged the facility could do more to deter cats.
“We’ve also been told by the city that one of the things we can do is make sure our dumpsters are secure and we can do a better job of that,” Gardner said.
Dunn pointed out that while the cats in the Colosseum are now getting all the attention, feral cat populations across the city have increased.
“It’s a pretty complicated problem,” she said. “There is an extreme veterinary shortage, it is extremely difficult for people to access affordable sterilization and we see the population increasing year on year.”
Because feral cats cannot be adopted, Dunn said her organization believes they should be kept in their outdoor homes.
“We are so grateful that the Colosseum shares this goal and that everyone is working in the best interest of cats,” she said.