In a few months, Sutter County will no longer accept healthy wild cats at its animal shelter.
And in another uncommon approach to animal care, the shelter workers won't go out to pick up healthy lost pet felines.
The changes are at the recommendation of Kate Hurley, director of the UC Davis Shelter Medicine Program. Hurley was hired by Sutter Animal Services to develop options that would result in fewer animals being euthanized and increase adoptions.
The policy shift, set to begin Sept. 1, is the result of "emerging philosophies" on how to handle community cat populations, according to a county news release.
"The number of cats accepted at shelters greatly exceeds the number that can be adequately cared for and adopted," Hurley said.
Also, controlling feral cat populations by taking them to the shelter is a big undertaking. In 2010, Hurley estimated, there were about 16,000 roaming cats in Sutter County.
In order to have a significant impact on that feral population, half of them would have to be captured and euthanized or 75 percent would have to be captured, sterilized and then let go again.