‘This whole place is their litter box.’ Lake Osiris residents complain about feral cat takeover
Feral cats are taking over the community of Lake Osiris outside Walden and are becoming a public health threat, according to residents.
Debra Walls, who lives with her husband just across a narrow trail of a street from the lake, has been begging the Town of Montgomery Animal Control, nonprofits and elected officials to address the "exploding" population of feral cats.
Walls is concerned about her health because of cat excrement constantly being stirred up by lawnmowers and leaf blowers. Her latest blood work indicates a possible parasitic infection, one she is taking medication to combat.
"They urinate all over the front by my dock," she said. "They're all over there, but there's nothing I can do."
Walls told News 12 there was a cat colony there long before she moved in three years ago. She says that since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in March 2020, no one has been managing the colony. Walls said several neighbors often put out food for the cats, which she advises against. The former property manager also advised against feeding the cats.
"The cats are entering yards, destroying property and negatively impacting residents’ quality of life," read an April 2022 email, provided by Walls. "Please be considerate of your neighbors and the community – we again ask that you do not feed these cats or any wildlife.”
Walls and others said many cats have taken shelter in the vacant home next to Walls’ home. The couple has installed fences and sirens to try to keep the cats away.
During an interview on her back porch, several cats walked down the hillside behind her home.
"This whole place was their litter box. They kept coming and pooping and peeing in my yard," she said before she spotted a "problem cat" through the window. "Here he is. He's right there. He's one of the cats. They used to sleep right at my door."
State Assemblyman Brian Maher said feral cat colonies have become problems elsewhere in his district and across the state, and he is "in it for the long haul" to find solutions. His staff is also trying to track down a point of contact for the vacant home to begin mitigating Lake Osiris' cat problem.
"The larger issue is the cats," he wrote in a text message Wednesday afternoon. "Feral cats need a home and I have been trying to develop a cat sanctuary similar to what exists in Middletown in the Montgomery area."
Walls said she is hopeful though any action will be long overdue.
"This is not to point fingers, and this is not to say anything other than this: Save the cats. Save the birds. Save the wildlife. Save the humans. Come on, guys," she said.