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Cat owners are being warned to keep their pets indoors as animal control officers capture and euthanize a large feral cat colony found on the property of a deceased woman in north suburban Evanston.
Evanston police on Sunday discovered a feral cat colony, estimated at about 100 animals, while investigating the death of a woman at a home in the 1900 block of Grant Street.
The woman died of natural causes and "tolerated the animals," said Cmdr. Tom Guenther
When relatives were contacted, they said they were not equipped to adequately care for such a large, non-socialized number of cats and opted for the city to handle the problem, police said in a statement.
Guenther said the deceased woman has a fairly large property and there is a large open lot next to it. He said the city had received complaints in the past about the cats and the family of the deceased woman is cooperating.
Evanston Animal Control officers responded to the residence and decided to exercise all options allowed by state law and local ordinance, including capture and "abatement" of the animals.
Guenther said that if the animals are "deemed feral," animal control officers are "within their rights to humanely" euthanize them, a procedure done under the auspices of a veterinarian.
On Tuesday afternoon, Animal Control sent a notice to residents of the area saying domestic cats in the neighborhood could be affected because they "have a propensity to wander onto the property."
The city will canvass the area, distributing fliers advising cat owners of the planned capture and "abatement."
While removal efforts will be confined to the area in question unless public health dictates otherwise, the notice states, cat owners should be extra-vigilant and make sure pets wear ID collars or are micro-chipped if they run in the area.