Red Deerians looking to trap nuisance or homeless cats have been out of luck for most of the summer.
“We haven’t been able to rent out many traps, barely any actually this summer at all, because of number of cats coming into the shelter, people bringing them in without even having the traps,” said Shaina Davis animal care manager with Alberta Animal Services on Wednesday.
She said the service has 32 cats on site, but a total of 88 counting the cats placed in foster care.
“Summer is when the cats are running around. Winter, they’re hiding. A lot of people don’t get to see them very often. But summer, they are everywhere. Everybody gets worried about them being out in the rain and the heat.”
She said traps only became available last week after the program was put on hold for about 1.5 months.
“We have about five rented out and we have a waiting list of about 15 people,” Davis said.
Traps are only available from May 1 to Sept. 30, depending on the weather, to protect the animals.
Carol Kelly, executive director of Medicine River Wildlife Centre, said hardly a day goes by when the centre isn’t contacted about birds or wildlife that were injured by cats.
“We have an orphan jack rabbit now because a cat was found eating the rest of the family. We constant get baby birds we’re feeding because cats killed the parents,” Kelly said.
She said bird populations are on the decline and roaming cats are one of the risks to birds. For more information visit catsandbirds.ca, a Nature Canada initiative that Medicine River supports.
“What frustrates me is you have these really responsible pet owners who have cats. They keep them home. They neuter them. They buy them Christmas presents.”
But some city residents still think it’s okay to let their cats roam. In rural areas, many people continue to use them for pest control, she said.
“It’s a really sad thing that we have this mentality that cats really don’t deserve anything. Cats are just something you throw in the barn.
They kill some mice. If they disappear, you just get more,” Kelly said.
Tara Hellewell, Central Alberta Humane Society executive director, said since June, 30 pets, mostly cats, have been spayed or neutered through the society’s PALS (Prevent Another Litter Subsidy) for low-income Central Albertans. Another 25 are scheduled for surgery.
She said it’s one way to help address the overpopulation issue and it’s proven popular. Close to 200 animals will be fixed per year.
In July the society had a special adoption rate for kittens that helped 49 cats and kittens get adopted.
“We’re sitting at about 170 cats and kittens in care right now.”