HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The Maui Humane Society estimates there are 40,000 cats roaming the Valley Isle.
The agency says there has been an increase in the number of stray cats since the pandemic forced them to temporarily halt its spay and neuter services.
Now that services have resumed, they are hoping to get the cat population under control.
“When we say it’s a community issue, we’re not saying, ‘Here, go and deal with it.’ We’re saying we have to work together to fix what we caused,” said Emily Drose, the state’s only community cat coordinator.
Her job is to collect data and try to control the island’s cat population, which she describes as “out of control.”
“There’s a lot of lost and trapped animals, trapped and dumped animals,” said Sarah Haynes with Kitty Charm Farm.
Haynes feeds feral cats and often helps reunite them with their owners.
One feral cat she helped was named Batman.
Batman disappeared from his home in Makawao in January and was found in Kihei in April. He was having a seizure and was starving. His tail was nearly severed.
Drose and Haynes say many times people get annoyed with their neighbor’s cat. So, they will trap them, then dump them somewhere else.
“You’re basically committing the worst crime you can possibly commit to your neighbor which is to steal their pet, make it starve to death, and have a family devastated,” Haynes said.
Drose says the practice is not only inhumane, but also illegal.
“It’s animal abandonment is what it is. When you’re taking any animal and removing it from its shelter and food source, it’s considered cruelty, it’s considered abandonment. We’re seeing this is a widespread issue,” she said.
Drose said if the cat isn’t rescued, it will die.
She is encouraging residents to instead call the Maui Humane Society for help.
“We can work together to get this population humanely and successfully under control,” Drose said.