FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County Animal Services announced it is seeing a decrease in its feral cat population thanks to a safe population control program launched in 2018.

The Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return program is helping sterilize, vaccinate and prevent animal cruelty throughout Cumberland County, Animal Services with the TNVR Program said.

“We are very encouraged by the number of people reporting fewer issues in their communities from feral cats,” Animal Services Director Elaine Smith said. ”Most people don’t want feral cats to be killed, they just want them to stop having kittens. Sterilizing reduces many of the remaining complaints about cats, including the fighting, yowling, and spraying that no one wants.”

Animal Services said 2,000 cats have been sterilized and vaccinated through the program, preventing more than 6,474 kittens from entering the Cumberland County community.

Additionally, Animal Services said cat owners are, and have been, responsible for keeping their cat on their own property since the Cumberland County leash law applies to cats, just as it applies to dogs.

Finally, “cats that have been through the TNVR program are identifiable by the ‘ear tip’, the tip of the left ear is removed while the cat is under anesthesia,” the announcement said. “This is visible from a distance without handling the cat.”