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Stray, feral cats need some TLC, too: Despite the fickle weather we’ve come to tolerate at the Lake of the Ozarks, spring is a time of rebirth. First, it’s daffodils, then the ponds and lake come alive with spring peepers, dogwoods bloom and we’re finally sprinkled with oak pollen dust as our trees sprout their seasonal leaves. It’s also birthing season for feral and stray cats. Yes, there are homeless cats that roam the streets. Cats wandering around are not uncommon, especially in the area of The Strip where there is a constant source of food. They can sometimes be a pest, but most often they’re looking for food and some TLC. Not to be alarmed. They have their place in the food chain. According to the website Ally Cat Allies, feral, stray and pet cats are all members of the same species; they are all domestic cats. But stray cats and feral cats are also different from each other in a very important way — in their relationship to and interactions with people. Whether you are a shelter worker, veterinarian, or feral cat advocate — or you just share your neighborhood with feral cats — knowing how to tell the difference can help inform how best to interact with a cat or what, if any, intervention would be in each cat’s best interest. A “socialized” cat is one that is friendly towards people—or cats that enjoy companionship with us in our homes.  Kittens becomes socialized by interacting with people—being held, spoken to, and played with—from an early age. If a kitten does not become accustomed to people holding her and petting her within this crucial window, she will grow up apprehensive of humans and will not be suited to or happy living in homes.  What is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat?  Pet and stray cats are socialized to people.  Feral cats are not socialized to people. While they are socialized to their colony members and bonded to each other, they do not have that same relationship with people.  A stray cat is a cat that has been socialized to people at some point in her life, but has left or lost her domestic home, as well as most human contact and dependence. Over time, a stray cat can become feral as her contact with humans dwindles.  Under the right circumstances, however, a stray cat can also become a pet cat once again. Stray cats that are re-introduced to a home after living outdoors may require a period of time to acclimate; they may be frightened and wary after spending time outside away from people.  Again, don’t be alarmed if you see a cat or cats hanging around The Strip. They are hungry and they may want to be your friend. Ideally, cats should be neutered to help curb overpopulation. If you decide to bring a stray or feral cat into your home, or under your care, make sure you have him or her neutered. Contact any of a number of veterinarians, Dogwood Animal Shelter, Ozark Kats and K9 Shelter, Blue Moon Sanctuary or others. To learn more about feral and stray cats, click on https://bit.ly/3twDcdH.         

TEST TW WEATHER

P&Z gives thought to allowing food trucks

The door to allowing food trucks in the City of Lake Ozark was left open a crack by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission during its regular monthly meeting April 7.

After a brief discussion, the P&Z requested more information before making a recommendation to the board of aldermen. The issue was brought before the group after city officials received several requests in the last few weeks from vendors wanting to take advantage of the throngs of potential customers during special events and weekends in the city.

Currently, food trucks are not allowed without the approval of the board of aldermen, the event applicant and the property owner where the truck would be located.

“These transactions cannot occur on public-controlled spaces such as sidewalks, streets and rights of way without having a special use permit from the board of aldermen,” Assistant City Administrator and Community Development Director Harrison Fry explained. “They currently are not allowed in the city based on current city code.”

While food trucks would be a new type of business to the community and offer variety, Fry noted, they also would, in effect, compete with existing businesses potentially at a lower level of investment.

Mayor Gerry Murawski focused on the potential conflict with businesses, especially those on The Strip.

“I’ve been asked this for five years now and my opinion has been rock solid. I believe businesses invest a lot of money through their lease or purchase and to have food trucks at least on The Strip is counterproductive,” the mayor offered. “If we did something below the dam for special events, for instance, we might want to be able to do that but that’s about the only option. We have such a small town and all the food truck people that I’ve talked to always want to set up on The Strip at an event and I think that would be absolutely counterproductive to our businesses and their investment.”

P&Z Chairman Margaret Davis pointed out that food trucks in The Strip area would also take away valuable parking spaces that are at a premium.

In answer to a question by P&Z member Mike Otten regarding food trucks on private property, Fry reiterated that permission would be required from the property owner, the event applicant and the board of aldermen.

Committee members wondered if food trucks could potentially be permitted away from The Strip such as in Eagle’s Landing. 

“I do think there are times and places that might be appropriate for them, but putting them down on The Strip is not appropriate,” committee member Ethan Schackelford said. “I do think we should look at the situation and options and see if there might be a time and place to locate them.
The complexities of collecting sales tax from venders who might operate in several communities also was raised as a possible challenge.

The board is expected to revisit the issue at its next regular meeting May 5. In the meantime, city staff will be researching best practices on the issue from other communities.