DECATUR, Neb. (KCAU) — In Decatur, Nebraska, the city is struggling to tackle a growing cat population.

“They’re destructive, very destructive,” said Lyons Police Chief Bryan Dunn. “It could be your garbage, garden, you know, if they get in the garage, they’re going to tear that apart.”

In fact, several counties in Siouxland are being overrun, by stray cats.

“The only way to solve the problem is through spay and neuter,” said Working Cat Project founder Kathy Robertson.

Kathy is the founder of the Working Cat Project.

She lives about an hour from the problem areas, but received a call from an area store owner, asking if she would help control the overwhelming cat population.

Kathy uses a method known as TNR, which stands for trap, neuter, and return. It’s a method of humanely community cats, spaying and neutering them and then returning them to where they were found. While it’s been proven to be effective, it takes a lot of time and money.

“There are donation jars all across Lyons, we have fundraisers, we received a grant,” Kathy said.

After rounding up donations from the community, Kathy set up traps across town, luring cats in with the smell of canned tuna, then quickly covering them up with a blanket.

After slowly seeing signs of progress, she decided to take it a step further.

“Okay, it’s time, let’s see if we can get an ordinance passed, and I’m pretty certain it’s the first one passed in Nebraska,” Kathy said. “Before the ordinance, there was nothing on the books, where they could do anything about people feeding, breeding. Now, they do have the means you can feed them, but they have to be spayed and neutered.”

City code now requires residents who feed stray cats, to also help in the TNR process.

“It will be the Lyons Police Department that will enforce the code, though we really don’t expect to enforce it. It will be a warm reception from the community,” Dunn said. “We’re not taking away an animal were actually promoting the health of a cat.”

Between 125 – 150 stray cats call Lyons home. Kathy said, so far, about 40 have been given the procedure.

“You can already see a difference,” Kathy said.