Central Alberta Humane Society’s new Purr program matches people with kittens that need a home. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

‘Busiest we’ve ever seen it’: Kitten season a challenge for central Alberta shelter

Kitten season has never been so busy at Saving Grace Animal Society, says the organization’s executive director.

“It’s been the busiest we’ve ever seen,” Erin Deems said Monday.

The amount of requests for intakes has been “ten times” greater than it was at this time in 2020, Deems said.

“If we said yes to every cat we receive a call on, we’d have over 40 cats a day,” she explained.

Taking care of so many kittens can be challenging from a financial standpoint, Deems added.

“Unfortunately, people give away cats all the time, unaltered. People know there’s the ability to get a free cat if they want them. But with us, we fix, vaccinate, microchip and deworm every animal, so basically every animal and cat that walks through our door, we lose money on,” she said.

“Then when you take into account all of our medical animals, it’s a huge drain on our organization. It is a struggle, but we do our absolute best to help as many as possible.”

The “most important thing” cats owners can do to make kitten season less taxing on animal shelters, is spaying and neutering their pets.

“Cats can have multiple litters a year, ranging anywhere from four to 10 kittens. The problem can get out of hand pretty quickly,” she said.

When a kitten is brought in to the shelter, it is fully vetted and then is posted for adoption.

“Kittens typically go a little faster, cats take a longer time to find a home for. But all in all, each cat spends a minimum of two weeks in our care,” she said, adding the adoption fee is often cheaper in the long run for prospective pet owner.

“If you get a free cat (instead of adopting one from a shelter) and you go and get it fixed, you’re going to spend double what its adoption fee is.”

There are many organizations, including Saving Grace, with barn cat programs as well, that can provide the opportunity for people to adopt vetted barn cats.

“Instead of going out and getting a litter of kittens that will end up breeding, these ones won’t breed and they’ll hunt (mice) for you,” she said.

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