Feral cat gang 'burgling' homes in Quedgeley
A GANG of feral and stray cats desperate for food is making its way into people's homes in Quedgeley and causing a nuisance.
People have become so concerned by the "cat burglars", thought to number around 30, that they have even contacted Quedgeley Parish Council to find out what can be done.
Parish clerk Jacquie Webster said: "We've had a complaint about these cats. They are feral and wild and there are said to be 30 of them.
"They are getting into homes and causing some concern."
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The alley cats are particularly prevalent around Quedgeley Park.
Councillor Graham Smith, vice chairman of the parish council, said: "It took me by surprise that there are said to be so many of them roaming around. They are presumably trying to get into people's houses on the look-out for food.
"The problem was brought into our parish office and we have discussed it as councillors but it is hard to see what we can do."
Tracey Hergest, from New Start Cat Rescue, which is based in Newent, said: "There is a huge problem in Quedgeley for some reason.
"Eight out of 10 calls we are getting at the moment are from Quedgeley.
"Only today I received a call from a lady who had found a young kitten that had been abandoned and a few weeks ago we had five or six kittens come in from that area.
"These cats are likely to be strays and they are coming into people's homes because they are looking for food and water and of course it is getting colder now so they want to stay warm.
"If people see a cat and they are able to catch it, they can contact a vet to see if it has been microchipped and then it can be returned to its owner.
"But if they are sure that it is a stray or it has been abandoned then they can contact a rescue centre.
"Unfortunately the waiting lists are so long and we can't always take them straight away but people can help make sure the cat is okay by creating a den for it with a cardboard box, a blanket and some dried food and place it in their garden. At least then it won't be in danger."
The RSPCA does not collect healthy stray cats and said many cats roamed over a wide area so they might just be pets.
Their website says: "If the stray cat is approachable, friendly or tame it may belong to someone. So long as it is healthy the best thing to do is try and find its owner.
"If the stray cat is not friendly, it may be feral or semi-feral and these cats are able to look after themselves. So long as a feral cat is healthy, leaving it alone may be the best option."
Feral cats, usually the descendents of pets, can form colonies and congregate near dustbins or where there is food.
They can be useful in hunting rodents but they can get into fights, breed rapidly and pass on viruses to domestic pets.