COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho-- A Coeur d’Alene woman said roaming cats are a huge problem and she wants something to be done.
Kathleen Shriner runs a day care center out of her Coeur d'Alene home and has two dogs. She lives a peaceful life for the most part, but she said there is something disturbing her peace. She said cats roam around her home.
She said when she first moved into her home in 2014 she saw one or two cats in her yard consistently. Now she says they get about 8 regulars.
One day around the time she first moved-in a cat did more than just roam. She said a stray got into her home through her doggy door. Her dogs began chasing the cat through the house.
"As soon as I was trying to get the dogs away the cat latched onto to me and crawled up me and latched onto to my arm and he was not letting go," said Shriner.
She eventually got the cat off, but the damage was done. The cat bite on her left hand gave her an infection.
"Within a few hours it had puffed up completely and it was swollen and by the next day it had gone up my arm and within another day it had gone to my heart," said Shriner.
Shriner said she spent a week in the hospital and needed four months of physical therapy. And she suffered permanent nerve damage in her hand which is now impacting her work.
"You need the dexterity to be able to do certain things with the kids," said Shriner.
She also said she has a $50,000 medical bill. But her financial woes that have been caused by stray cats she said do not stop there. Several of her plants including a $1,500 Blue Cedar tree were killed from cats repeatedly marking their territory.
She has a six-foot-high fence around her yard. And she put wire fencing around her plants, but it has not kept all the cats out.
In Idaho, cats are allowed to roam freely even on private property. And the City of Coeur d'Alene only requires a license and a leash for dogs not cats.
"Why don't we have regulations on cats? Why are cats allowed to roam free? Why are cats allowed to be on other people's property? Why are cats allowed to attack people and they get a new home?” asked Shriner.
City leaders discussed the issue before in the past but on in an official capacity.
Deputy City Administrator Sam Taylor told KREM 2 in an email the issue has not come before the council. He wrote containment of cats is a challenge all cities face.
“A cat’s ability to climb trees and scale fences creates an impossible challenge,” wrote Taylor. “Loose cats are also a challenge to capture.”
Kootenai County Humane Society Executive Director Debbie Jeffery echoed that sentiment. Roaming cats are difficult to catch and there a lot out there.
As for Shriner, she said she hopes something will be eventually be done even if it is just encouraging cat owners to keep a closer eye on their pet.
"I want the owner to keep the cats out of my yard, I want to know that I am safe in my house and I want to know that my children are safe in my house,” said Shriner.
Kootenai County Humane Society has a feral cat spay and neuter program. For more information click here.
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