Feral cat colony at Richmond International Airport

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A feral cat colony has turned up at an unusual spot, Richmond International Airport. One animal welfare group is calling on airport staff to allow it to step in and help. 

The cats were spotted in a wooded patch near the north parking garage. Airport officials put up no trespassing signs to keep people from feeding the cats. They see it as a health and safety issue.

Airport staff isn't sure of the colony size, but the felines seem to be comfortable in their surroundings.

"We have seen that people have really been planting bags of food in this area, so it's not so much even sustaining a colony but acts as an attraction for not only feral cats, but other wildlife that follow," said RIC spokesman, Troy Bell.

That's why no trespassing signs went up alongside other warnings. Bell says cats have been spotted wandering the parking decks. In the past few months, Henrico Animal Control officers have picked up injured cats, hit by cars at the airport. Bell says they're making sure dumpster lids are closed and trash bins emptied more frequently.

"You're concerned about everything from a hungry animal searching for food in a place it can be surprised like in a parking garage, to animal carrying - however remote the possibility might be - carrying rabies," said Bell.

Bell says they haven't been trapping the cats, but could start. The cats would be turned over to Henrico Animal Control. Something the Richmond SPCA doesn't want. It's offered a trap-neuter-return solution.

"If you have organizations out there who have great concern for the well being of these animals and wish to adopt them I'm sure something can be arranged with Animal Control," said Bell.

Airport officials say they mean business when it comes to those no trespassing signs. Violators could receive a warning or citation. 

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