Contributed by Laurie Page
2011 The Year of the Cat is a Canada-wide initiative to increase awareness about cats as pets (See www.careforcats.ca). “Canada is in crisis,” explains Dr. O’Brien, spokesperson of Care for Cats. “The nation’s animal shelters are over overflowing with abandoned, lost and feral cats. Every year tens of thousands of healthy cats and kittens are euthanized because there are not enough homes for all of these cats.”
A 2008 study of Canadian households revealed some interesting facts:
• 36 per cent of Canadian households had cats: more than 8.5 million Canadian cats
• Half of these cats did not receive any veterinary care in the last 12 months, and 41 per cent had not been vaccinated in the last four years.
• Less than quarter of them had a tattoo or microchip, meaning that if they were brought to a shelter as a stray, they had little chance of being returned to their families
• 54 per cent of cat owners with un-spayed or un-neutered cats reported that they were unlikely to have the surgery done in the coming year, and 21 per cent did not know about the alarming cat overpopulation problem in North America.
Locally, we are in the same situation. Our local humane society, PALS (Protecting Animal Life Society), has taken 450 cats under its wing since inception. During the same period, they have assisted with the spay or neuter of another 358 pets. Fortunately, PALS has not had to euthanize any healthy animals.
In order to help local cats, PALS and Nakusp Veterinary Clinic have teamed up to offer a special program for the month of April. PALS offers a subsidy of 25 per cent to spay or neuter cats from Edgewood to Trout Lake to Silverton. While cats are being spayed or neutered, Nakusp Veterinary Clinic will provide a free ear tattoo that can help them be reunited with their families if they are ever lost.
For an interesting review of all things feline, see CBC Doc Zone’s documentary “Cat Crazed” available online.