The Cariboo Regional District is one of three regions that has been identified by the BC SPCA as in need of intervention to address the number of unwanted cats.
“We have 35 branches across the province,” says manager of policy and companion, Amy Morris.
“So we looked at cat intake for all of those branches and Williams Lake, really the branch that serves the whole Cariboo Reginal District was at the top of the list with a 26 percent increase in cats in the last five years. What we’re seeing with mapping out the intake is that about 50 percent is coming from right in the City of Williams Lake and about 50 percent is coming from all of the rural areas outside of the city.”
Morris believes there are a number of reasons leading to the surge of unwanted cats.
“I think people are maybe growing in their compassion and bringing more cats into the branch; maybe previously they wouldn’t have put the effort to bring them in, and in addition, the fires may have made an impact with cats congregating where there is food and reproducing rapidly.”
Other regions identified as in need of intervention include the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and Central Coast Regional District.
More than 60 percent of the intake is kittens.
“That lets us know that there is so much breeding going on, and without spaying and neutering we are going to keep seeing the breeding happening,” Morris says.
The BC SPCA is currently accepting applications for its Community Animal Spay/Neuter Grant program and says it will be giving priority to projects in the Cariboo Regional District, Thompson-Nicola Regional District, and Central Coast Regional District.
“There are two different types of cat populations. We have owned cats and we have free-living cats; cats in colonies,” Morris says.
“For the owned cat we can get them spayed and neutered and for people having trouble affording it, we can look towards offering a low-cost surgery for them. For the cats living in colonies, there’s a little bit more effort that needs to go in; they need to be trapped and brought to veterinaries and then returned to their colonies but the same process happens that they get spayed, neutered and vaccinated so that the general health of the colony is good and they’re not reproducing.”