A volunteer group in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has begun trapping feral and abandoned cats, then spaying or neutering them before releasing the animals.

The Feral and Abandoned Cat Society estimates there are between 5,000 and 10,000 cats living on the streets in the municipality.

"We've purchased some fairly large metal traps and buy food or what not. They are trapped, they are then put in the back of an SUV and taken to the veterinarians who we've already made arrangement with," said Ann Dunn, a volunteer with the society.

"The veterinarians then have their process, they keep them overnight and then release them back into the area or colony that they may belong, the next morning."

Feral cats have become a nuisance in many parts of the community.

"In some cases, there are health issues. We have seniors who are taking care of large numbers of cats indoors, so there could be bacteria, there could be any amount of disease being carried," said Dunn.

"Then, of course, people have five or ten or dozens of cats roaming through their property, damaging their property."

The issue of stray cats has come to the forefront since the SPCA announced it would no longer accept cats at its shelter in Sydney. The shelter says it is at capacity and that isn't expected to change anytime soon.

The Nova Scotia SPCA said 400 people are on the Sydney shelter's wait list trying to to donate cats.

Dunn said that means more people are simply abandoning cats or kittens on the streets, or in feral colonies.

The Feral and Abandoned Cat Society hopes to spay or neuter 1,000 cats a year and fundraise to keep up its work. A committee of Cape Breton regional council has voted to give the society about $25,000 a year toward its costs.