Animal shelters deal with exploding cat population
A cat peers out of its cage inside the Toronto Humane Society building on Friday Nov. 27, 2009. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, August 21, 2012 7:12PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 22, 2012 10:56AM ADT
Exploding cat populations are an annual issue for Maritime animal shelters, but this year appears worse than others, which means some animals that would normally be left at shelters are being dropped along rural roads.
Lauraine Keetch says she didn’t plan on making a home for six cats but cat populations are on the rise in rural areas.
Keetch says her latest stray was dropped in front of her farm house in Upper Queensbury, N.B. from a van that barely slowed down.
“They opened the sliding door and I heard that and I heard ‘meow’ so I knew there was a cat and they closed the door and they just went,” she says.
Keetch has seen the same routine play out at least a dozen times in recent years, and she says her neighbours have seen it too.
“Pretty much everybody with a farm,” says Keetch. “There is a farm down the road. They are a dairy and egg farm and they have about 23 or 24 cats.”
Ron Cairns runs the Carleton County Animal Shelter in Debec, near Woodstock. He believes it’s an urban problem being imposed on rural settings.
“People from the towns and cities, they’ll drive into the rural areas and just drop off a box of kittens or a bag of kittens,” he says.
Cairns says that like other shelters in the area, the Carleton County Animal Shelter is at maximum cat capacity. He says the wildcat population is on the rise and almost out of control.
“These cats are not spayed or neutered. They end up breeding and a farmer with five or six cats, two or three years later has 50 or 60 cats,” he says.
A self-proclaimed cat person, Keetch has a hard time turning abandoned cats away.
“I like cats and I wouldn’t give them up for the world, but I wish people would understand that when you do that, you impose your cat on somebody else,” she says. “It’s not everybody that loves cats like I do.”
Keetch says six is more than enough for her, but she also knows it’s only a matter of time before another one arrives on her doorstep.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell