LAS VEGAS -- The 200,000 feral cats living in Clark County open areas is expected to be close to double this spring.
The cats are considered by many as a nuisance and can spread diseases and parasites.
Despite the felines' wild nature, one Las Vegas area group cares about them enough to try to better the cats' lives.
At his so-called command center, Keith Williams meticulously tabulates and calculates an undertaking he started three years ago.
As president of the Community Cat Coalition of Clark County, or C-5, he oversees the trapping of feral cats to spay or neuter them.
"It is working better than I would have expected it to," Williams said. "The mortality rate for these kittens is 50 percent up to two months old, and 90 percent to a year old. There really is no excuse for having all these kittens being born simply to die."
The feral cats are eventually released back into a regulated colony run by volunteers.
According to the Animal Foundation, which runs an animal shelter, its data matches Williams'. The trap and release program is working, said Carly Scholten, director of operations for the foundation.
In 2012, about 4,000 fewer cats were euthanized than in 2009.
"That's over a 21 percent decrease, and that's simply in the number of cats coming to the (Lied animal shelter) facility," Scholten said. "You can see the decrease in cat intakes is almost exactly 21 percent as well over that time frame."
Williams said he couldn't have helped turn the tide without his volunteers.
He estimated that his group has spayed or neutered about 10 percent of the feral cat population.
"They are truly making a difference to our community and to the cats," he said.
Williams added that he is always looking for more volunteers. The Lied animal shelter is also looking for people to help foster some of the many kittens they expect to collect this spring.