Cat Overpopulation Problem Continues to Affect Kamloops | iINFOnews



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October 31, 2021 – 06:58 AM

The Kamloops SPCA is trying to reduce the feral cat population by neutering and neutering them before releasing them into the wild.

Overpopulation of cats is an ongoing problem in the city. The Kamloops BC SPCA welcomed 459 cats and kittens in 2021, up from 430 last year during the same period, Lorie Chortyk, BC SPCA communications manager, said by email. The branch currently has 47 cats in care.

READ MORE: Kamloops SPCA targets new programs to tackle feline overpopulation

Kamloops has the third highest number of cats among its 36 branches, after Quesnel and Vancouver. The number of cats currently supported is the fourth highest, after the sites in Nanaimo, Sea to Sky and South Peace, Chortyk said.

The SPCA has launched a one-year pilot program and, upon its succession, will evolve into a two to four year program to create long-term change for cats. The SPCA is focused on education, community engagement and increasing spaying and neutering of both owned and unowned cats, according to an SPCA report to city council on Oct. 16.

Ashley Fontaine, manager of community engagement at the Kamloops branch, said a number of factors contribute to the overpopulation of cats in the city and one of them is the way people view cats by compared to dogs.

Cats are not considered as valuable as dogs, and many cats are abandoned, for example, when someone moves, she said.

There is a compulsory permit for dogs in the city, but not for cats.

Many people don’t sterilize their cats, which also contributes to the problem of feline overpopulation, but one of the barriers to sterilization are financial barriers and lack of education, Fontaine said.

Kamloops has struggled with cat overpopulation for years, she said, but did not have a specific timeline for how long the problem has persisted. Wildcat colonies have also existed in Kamloops for years, she said.

The SPCA’s trap and release program involves community members who trap feral cats and they are then spayed or neutered and released back into the wild. A low-income spay and neuter program will also be offered to people for their cats who meet certain requirements this fall or winter, she said.

The SPCA is unable to rehabilitate a cat that has lived in a wild colony for years because it cannot be domesticated, she said, adding that wild kittens can be domesticated.

“What we are doing now is preventative, so hopefully something like a (slaughter) never happens,” she said, adding that the mission of the SPCA is to protect and improve quality. life of animals in British Columbia.

Cats have a destructive impact on local bird populations, but they are not listed as invasive despite the rabbit list, said Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of BC.

READ MORE: Walking and hiking with cats, growing trend in Kamloops

Cats are a concern because they are not regulated the same way dogs are in the province, she said.

The SPCA has been lobbying for more than a decade for pet owners to commit to the lifespan of the animal and to ensure the animal cannot reproduce, responsible choices that people cannot. don’t always do, she said.

The problem is not unique to cats. There are established wild rabbit populations in British Columbia and the question is, “You have this non-native animal that is reproducing at high rates, in the environment, impacting native species.” Are you spending a lot of money… sterilizing them because we think it’s the right thing to do, or are you slaughtering them in a humane and responsible manner? Wallin said.

In 2018, a New Zealand city planned to ban domestic cats to reduce the impact on local wildlife, according to the New York Times.

“It’s a really complex question,” Wallin said.

“Does it make sense to sterilize cats and put them outside?” The good thing is that it is not going to breed new litters. Will it make a difference on the feral cat population? The entire cat population should breed with sterilized animals and prevent the release of more feral cats…. The important thing is not to let them go.

One of the founders of a group of wild cat trappers, Jenn Breckenridge with Sammy’s Forgotten Felines, said the problem was “frustrating”.

“We’re shrinking an iceberg. The problem is, we’re a very small rescue and there’s not much we can do. Our goal is to focus on one colony at a time. In the meantime, there are several. other colonies that just expand and grow and keep going so it’s really hard. You’re really just chasing your tail, “she said.

The trio of volunteers, Breckenridge with Jessica Blenkarn and Julie Ondang, are currently trying to capture a colony of sick cats on the North Shore that Breckenridge says contains at least 70 cats. The cost to do this will amount to about $ 20,000 in vet fees if the cats are healthy.

The group has been around since November 2019 and since its inception it has captured around 300 to 400 cats that have been relocated, she said.

They decided to intervene when they learned two years ago that a colony was going to be captured and slaughtered and were able to relocate the 82 cats captured in that colony.

It can be difficult to gain the trust of the animal and decide whether cats can be housed in an ordinary family environment or another safe place where they have access to shelter and veterinary care, she said. declared.

READ MORE: Women who trap, care for and repatriate Kamloops feral cats

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