FORT WORTH -- The cats crept up the driveway, hid behind shrubs, and scavenged for food and water.
Returning from a two-week vacation in June, Sue Vesta found the cats, about 40 in all, scattered around her home and a neighbor's home on the east bank of Lake Worth.
"Our area has had a problem with feral cats but never before like this," said Vesta, a Realtor who has lived on the lake for four years. "The cat population just exploded."
In desperation, Vesta contacted animal shelters to find homes for more than two dozen kittens and 14 adult feral cats, but the shelters are overcrowded and could do little to help.
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"Unfortunately, people have treated Lake Worth as a dumping ground for unwanted pets," Vesta said. "We knew if we did not do something, we would soon have 70 cats."
So Vesta collected donated cages and provides food, water and medication to the cats. Several times a day, she cleans litter boxes.
While researching the issue, Vesta found Rose Lynn Scott, who runs a trap-neuter-and-return program for cats on Fort Worth's near south side. Scott helped Vesta trap the cats and take them to lost-cost clinics for spaying and neutering.
"No animal asks to be homeless," Scott said. "This is strictly and directly a response of humans being irresponsible."
Vesta has spent about five hours a day and $2,000 of her own money to help the cats. She has found homes for all but five kittens and seven adults. Fort Worth's Chuck Silcox Animal Shelter has agreed to take the remaining kittens, which will be sent to PetSmart for adoption. Vesta hopes to find country dwellers with land who are willing to take the adults.
"We must get people to spay and neuter their pets and stop dumping their animals," Vesta said.
Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056