The scale of the problem is staggering.

Experts believe as many as 3 million feral cats roam the streets of Los Angeles and could soon match the city’s human population of roughly 3.9 million.

“A lot of people are like, ‘I had no idea,’” Esmerelda Alvarez, a longtime cat rescue worker, told KTLA. “And it makes sense. Cats come out at night and if you’re not looking for them, you won’t really notice them.”

In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce as many as 370,000 kittens. 

“Cats can have three or four litters a year and each litter can be anywhere from four to eight kittens. It’s just massive,” said Alvarez.

So why are there so many feral cats in Los Angeles? Rescuers say our mild climate and easy access to food make the City of Angels an ideal place for colonies to thrive.

While a handful of volunteers and rescue groups are doing what they can to slow the feral cat population boom, they are also asking city officials to step in.

But what can the city really do?

A lawsuit a decade ago barred Los Angeles from participating in a “Trap-Neuter-Return” program, leaving volunteers to pick up the slack.

Watch our full report Thursday on KTLA 5 News at 10 p.m.