The overall feline population in the province is extremely high. There is estimated to be roughly one million stray/feral cats in the province, although many organizations feel this number could easily be doubled or tripled. The total population of people in our province is estimated to be roughly 900,000, meaning there are 2 or 3 kitties per human in this province. “The (Halifax Regional Municipality) has reported that they used results from a survey… that included the number of OWNED cats in (Halifax) – they came up with the figure of just under 100,000. So they said, there may be an equal number of UNOWNED cats on the streets” (The Halifax Cat Explosion, 3). This means that there are roughly 200,000 cats in HRM. They have not considered that the average abandoned cat isn’t fixed, and can cause hundreds more kittens to be born in the wild. This means that there could be close to 300,000 cats currently living in HRM, if not more. Add this to the fact that one female cat can be responsible for roughly 1,000,000 kittens in her lifetime, including her kittens’ kittens and theirs after that, and the number of felines is suddenly through the roof.
The SPCA simply cannot be relied upon as the sole method of feline population control. The NSSPCA is a non- euthanize organization. This means that no animals will be killed because they cannot find homes for them. They are one of the only SPCAs in Canada that is non-euthanize, although they are trying to make it mandatory for all to be no-kill. Throughout the United States, the Humane Society euthanizes “more than 3 million cats and dogs…in shelters” (Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet, 5). It’s a sin that so many animals are put to death simply because nobody wants to give them the proper care and a loving home.
The SPCA adopts cats out at a loss. It costs them $160 per kitten, and $250 per full-grown cat for the spay/neuter procedure. Remember that you in turn can adopt a kitten for only $100 or a full-grown cat for only $60. This is in lieu of getting a “free” kitten from your neighbour’s barn, and having to spend $400 or more on vet bills when your kitty is matured and needs her needles and to be fixed. Tammy Rhyno, the SPCA Cats representative and Vice President for Hants County, states, “The SPCA spends approximately $5000 per month on vet bills. And just this summer, we had to turn away around 100 kittens because there were no foster homes available.” Keep in mind that someone working for minimum wage full-time might only earn around $1500 every month. All funds for the SPCA come from donations and through fundraisers, and the blood, sweat, tears and love of animals from volunteer workers.
The Hants County SPCA runs as a no-shelter organization. They rely solely on foster care for the animals rescued. Foster homes for cats and dogs are mostly funded by the SPCA, although funding is scarce. At the moment they are down to 2 or 3 foster homes that are able to keep cats or dogs for any length of time. Nobody is willing to foster, using the excuses such as “We’re too busy” and “I don’t want to get too attached.” However, most of the people that are foster families have kids and live busy lives. It’s not about the sadness of the cats leaving; it’s about knowing that they are going to a good home and will be one less kitten abandoned in the snow banks this winter.
Cats have 4 breeding cycles per year (one for every 3 months). At age 6 months, a cat is considered sexually mature. This means that once each cat has reached the age of 10, she has given birth to roughly 200 kittens herself. This is based an average of 5 cats per litter, and 4 litters per year. Rhyno emphasizes, “The SPCA adopts out roughly 200 spayed and neutered kittens per year. Because of this, 800 cats won’t be born this spring. 3000 cats won’t have been born by next fall.”
People need to spay or neuter their kittens. Contrary to popular belief, spaying and neutering leads to happier kitties that are in better shape and don’t “spray” or mark their territory. They also become more affectionate due to the decreased desire to find a mate and increased desire in staying home with humans. “Spaying/neutering can prevent serious diseases of the reproductive organs” (Spaying and Neutering: The Responsible Choice, 5), which in turn saves on trips to the veterinarian and some very costly procedures.
The SPCA recommends spaying/neutering a cat anywhere from the age of 10-16 weeks. You can pick your kitten up from the vet’s after the procedure, and it is still as playful and loving as when you dropped it off. Older cats are more affected by the surgery, and are sluggish and in a lot of pain afterwards.
It is much cheaper to adopt your pet through the SPCA than it is to get an animal for free. They take care of all needles, spaying and neutering, and only charge you $100! The SPCA was created to help prevent animal cruelty, and while they are trying very hard to do their part, it’s extremely difficult when nobody wants to reach out and lend a helping hand. The provincial feline population is sky-high and constantly climbing. Do you want to be the reason Fluffy’s grand-kittens were abandoned and let die in a snow bank this winter?
Image found at www.exclusivelycats.blogspot.com