Feral cats — whether you love them or hate them, someone in your neighborhood is bound to feed them. In the city of Covington, officials passed a new ordinance Tuesday that's meant to find a middle ground between feral cat lovers and haters.
Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith says officials don't want to make it illegal to feed stray cats — just create responsible, caring practices.
"If somebody wants to feed a cat that's been spayed or neutered and isn't going to be reproducing in the neighborhood, that's one thing. But they've got to do it in an appropriate manner," he told city commissioners in November.
He said the most common complaint about feral cats involves people leaving food outside for cats that sits there for days and attracts other vermin, like raccoons and opossums. He also says people complain about unsightly makeshift cat houses people place around the city.
The new ordinance includes limiting food left outside in a container for no more than an hour; removing trash; ensuring shelters are insulated and blend in with surroundings; and calls for vaccinating and spaying or neutering feral cats.
"I've spent a lot of time over the last few years dealing with cats, more than I could have imagined," Smith said.
The ordinance puts city policy more in line with the regulations used by Kenton County for its Animal Services office.