MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A feral cat colony in Southeast Memphis is causing quite the controversy after a new resident says the cats are a nuisance, but other residents say the cats have become a part of the neighborhood.

Herbert Grose said he moved into a Southeast Memphis neighborhood in the summer and found a sign that says “murderer!” on his door last week. 

“It made me angry, it made me upset that someone would do that,” he said.

Grose said he is most certainly not a murderer but he has been working with several organizations—including animal control, code enforcement, and the Shelby county health department—to see what can be done to remove the feral cats. 

“They spray their urine on their vehicles or property, they mark their territory I guess. And they also leave feces. And on the warm climate days, the odor is terrible. The stench is very bad,” Grose said.

He said he has noticed some of his neighbors feeding them, which he says only makes the problem worse. However, a city ordinance allows cats to legally and freely roam the streets of Memphis, and other neighbors say they are welcome.

One neighbor, who chooses not to be identified, said the cats have lived in this neighborhood for years. She said the issues Grose is complaining about can come from any wild animal in the neighborhood. 

“There’s dogs everywhere. I have a raccoon that comes around back. There’s a possum and his family that live around here. There’s birds. If I start feeding the birds, is he going to get upset,” she said.

The neighbors said most of the cats out here have been vaccinated and a city program pays to have strays spayed and neutered. But Grose said when the neighbors take care of them, they are no longer strays and questions whether that ordinance still applies.

“I can’t enjoy my property. They’re all over my furniture, my lawn furniture. I can’t let my kids and grandkids come over and play because of what is out there and what they’re doing on the property,” Grose said.

We reached out to city and country resources for comment but have not yet heard back on where things currently stand.