Many are familiar with the movie “Hotel for Dogs,” but it appears Tallassee is home to a hotel for cats.
The Hotel Talisi, recently declared a public nuisance, may have another issue to deal with as the city’s animal control officer recently reported the capture of more than 25 feral cats that were going in and out of the building. According to Mayor Johnny Hammock, this can be a nuisance to Tallassee residents and visitors in the downtown area.
“The animal control officer got 27 cats out of the area last week,” Hammock said.
Not only are the cats a nuisance, but they are also bringing other unwanted pests with them. Now, city officials are having to treat areas of downtown for the unwanted parasites.
“We are having to spray Permethrin in the park next door to the hotel because it is infested with fleas,” Hammock said.
Permethrin has been registered since 1979, first registered in 1990 for use as a repellent on clothing by the military. Permethrin is a broad-spectrum, non-systemic, synthetic pyrethroid insecticide that targets adults and larvae of many species of biting, chewing, scaling, soil, and flying invertebrates. Permethrin is registered by the Environmental Protection Agency as an insecticide for use in a variety of settings. When used to pre-treat clothing, it is an insect repellent, according to the United States EPA.
While the cats may appear to be harmless, Hammock urges residents and visitors in the area not to feed the animals.
“I know people want to help, but it is best not to feed them,” he said. “Feeding them only promotes the population and that is the last thing we need.”
These felines may appear to be homeless housecats, but in a suitable environment, feral cats can breed over dozens of generations and become an aggressive predator.
Overpopulation is a serious concern as well. These cats produce around 80% of the kittens born in the U.S. each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
The Tallassee City Council first declared the Hotel Talisi a public nuisance since 2018. Since that time, a portion of the west-facing wall of the building has been removed and the roof has been removed. However, loose flashing, unwanted wildlife, and other issues remain a concern for city officials.
At the Nov. 10 regular council meeting, during property owner Wiley Troupe’s appeal to block the council’s previous decision to declare the structure a public nuisance and move forward with options to remedy the issue, councilmembers heard from Gordon Davis the engineer overseeing the renovation of the Hotel Talisi. At that time, Hammock brought up concerns about the growing cat colony in the area as well as other unwanted pests.
At that same meeting, the council voted 6-1 in favor of moving forward with the process to declare the Hotel Talisi a public nuisance.
Councilmember Fred Randal Huey voted against the measure, citing Troupe’s “proactive” measures in the property’s renovation process.