KATRINA OWENS The Standard
KAWARTHAS: Non-neutered and non-spayed cats are becoming a real problem in Lindsay, so says Kawartha Lakes Humane Society executive director Henny Venus.
“We cover all of Kawartha Lakes,” says Mr. Venus. “It’s a big area and I would say around 80 per cent of all our surrenders come from Lindsay.”
Mr. Venus adds, “Right now we have approximately 80 cats and that is over capacity. The last few months we’ve had upwards of 120-140 come in.”
As it happens, while The Standard was interviewing Mr. Venus, 20 more cats were in transit to the shelter. According to Mr. Venus, this is a reoccurring trend, tied directly to pet owners not being responsible.
“Currently there isn’t any bylaw in place that makes it so owners have to neuter or spay their cats,” says Mr. Venus. “And that’s a big problem!”
To put the growing issue into perspective, Mr. Venus says that one female cat can have up to three litters per year, with around 12 kittens per litter, then once those kittens are six months old, they are mature enough to mate and produce their own.
“The kitten population in Lindsay has exploded this year,” says Mr. Venus. “I would say we have seen at least 150-200 more kittens than normal. Compared to last year, the weather is quite warm and we’re even still seeing new born kittens well into November!”
So, why not just trap the outdoor cats, fix them up and release? It sounds simple, but Mr. Venus says it’s easier said than done.
“The general public doesn’t know about the whole legal grey matter around trap and release programs,” he says. “There is liability. What if we were to trap a cat, which we thought was feral, and neuter or spay them, only to find out it was someone’s house cat. The owners would be able to sue us!”
Until the city of Kawartha Lakes instills a bylaw, the humane society has its hands tied, so to speak.
“There needs to be better control and we’re lobbying for that,” says Mr. Venus. “It took about three years of hard work to get a bylaw surrounding exotic animals in place, but in the end we did manage to get one. We’ll continue to work with the city and to research what other municipalities are doing to help curb the issue.”
Aside from tying up resources and funds, Mr. Venus says the ever-growing cat population is also impacting the local ecosystem.
“It is a big problem,” he says. “It’s having a huge impact of wildlife, because the more cats there [are] the more they need to eat birds or other smaller animals. But, it all comes back to responsible pet ownership! Having your cat spayed or neutered could help fix this. All of our cats are micro chipped, fixed and come with vaccinations.”
As previously mentioned, the shelter is over capacity for cats; Mr. Venus says he’s hoping to see most of them adopted before the holidays.
“In October, we had 110 adoptions because of our amazing community,” he says. “We’ve lowered our prices to $95 per cat, $140 a kitten and $275 per dog.”
If you’re interested in adopting or volunteering, Mr. Venus says to come down to the shelter.
“We’re always looking for volunteers!” says Mr. Venus.
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