BOULDER CREEK (CBS SF) — Animal control officers with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter on Thursday were in the process of removing a colony of approximately 100 feral cats from a rural property in Boulder Creek.

Partnering with local nonprofit Heading Home Animal Rescue or HHAR, the shelter is seeking to place the rescued cats at new homes with owners who will care for them.

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Cats rescued from feral cat colony by Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter)

Officers were using humane animal traps to corral the feral cats in cages before taking them to the county shelter.

What started as a small number of animals gradually multiplied after an area resident began feeding cats without proper spay or neuter care.

The resident asked for assistance, which will be ongoing for several weeks. It is SCCAS policy to never turn away an animal for any reason.

Following assessment at the shelter, the animals will receive veterinary care and be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and given a microchip ID.

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Large colonies of feral cats can be overwhelming to caretakers and have serious impacts on their environment.

Neighbors often are forced to deal with feces and urine in gardens, on cars, or in garages and indoor cats are often agitated by feral cats.

Wildlife populations, primarily songbirds and small reptiles, can drop dramatically due to predation. Streams and other water sources can become contaminated by waste.

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is generally heavily populated towards the end of the summer.

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Following large-scale rescues such as this, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter resources can be stretched thin and donations can help deal with unexpected circumstances and expenses. The shelter asks that interested parties lend a hand by making a donation at the shelter’s official website.