Atlantic Canada is overflowing with cats and humane organizations are struggling to address the need. The Nova Scotia SPCA, the SPCA Newfoundland & Labrador, the P.E.I. Humane Society, the New Brunswick SPCA, the Greater Moncton SPCA, the Gloucester SPCA and the Fredericton SPCA are jointly appealing to the public for support to help cats.
"Our organizations are facing an enormous strain and capacity limitations," says Executive Director Kristin Williams. "We rely on donations to carry out our work and the need for our services this time of year often outpaces our ability to offer aid. When our shelters are at capacity, we consider all possible options, including volunteer foster families to alleviate intake pressures and adoption promotions to enhance animal flow. The cat overpopulation issue is at crisis levels. The dilemma is getting worse every year and unfortunately animal welfare organizations that are donor driven are the only ones addressing the needs of cats. Cats need advocates and they need help."
Humane organizations suggest that one critical way to address the cat overpopulation crisis is to increase the value society places on owned, stray and feral cats. Studies show that approximately 80 per cent of breeding age animals must be altered for there to be an impact on the number of animals ending up in shelters. Overpopulation directly affects the cycle of neglect, abuse and cruelty.
What Can The Public Do?
Every individual is a powerful advocate and can make a real difference in the lives of animals in every community in Atlantic Canada. Here are some of the ways in which you can help:
• Foster – Become part of your local SPCA or Humane Society's animal care network and expand their ability to support animals in need by providing a loving, safe environment for an animal in your home.
• Adopt – Every animal that's adopted makes room for another to come into care. If adoption was everyone's first choice, there would be no displaced animals in need of loving homes. If you can't adopt from a shelter, consider adopting a stray and providing for their needs.
• Donate– Help humane organizations expand their capacity to offer care. Donations directly go to enhancing the ability to help animals in need.
• Support local rescue groups and TNR – Local rescues take in thousands of animals each year and TNR (trap, neuter, return) groups work with feral populations to ensure they don't reproduce and populations naturally decrease.
• Call the media or use social media – Be heard and bring attention to the cause. Broadening awareness of efforts on the ground and issues that need to be addressed is vital to improving cats' social value.
• Talk to government – Understand where your tax dollars go and advocate for stronger regulations and bylaws that are inclusive of the needs for cats in particular – stray and owned.
• ID your pets – shelters are full of pets that never find their way back home because they have no ID. Indoor pets may even escape through open doors and windows. Safety collars with ID are a great start, but the best form of permanent ID is a quick and painless microchip, which lasts a lifetime.