Irresponsible pet ownership is resulting in the suffering of countless felines, a concerned RM of Prince Albert resident is saying this week.
With his property’s cat population increasing to 11 this week, he’s quick to point out that only one of the 11 cats is a deliberate pet.
“We’ve heard cars out here on the road, and we’ll hear the door open and it’ll slam, and we’ll go to see who is there and there’s nobody, but shortly there’s a kitten or a cat, or a cat with little ones around the yard,” he said.
“That’s irresponsible pet ownership. They don’t get them spayed! So what do they do? They dump them, to suffer.”
The concerned resident asked that his and his wife’s names not be used in this article, out of concern that more irresponsible pet owners will target their property with bundles of cats.
The couple has chosen to accommodate the influx of cats rather than let them suffer in the cold.
“It’s cold, so they’d really suffer today,” the resident said on Thursday. “They’re kittens!”
They’ve constructed a “cat condo” by flipping a garbage can upside down and placing straw bales within it to keep them warm, provided a heated dish for the cats’ milk, and constructed a nursery for kittens.
Some neighbours have also taken in cats, though outside in the elements, many felines have died, with several spotted dead on the side of the road.
“One night, in the middle of the night, I heard a noise so I got up and my wife wasn’t beside me,” the concerned resident said. “I looked outside, and here she is in her nightgown outside chasing coyotes.”
We’ve heard cars out here on the road, and we’ll hear the door open and it’ll slam, and we’ll go to see who is there and there’s nobody, but shortly there’s a kitten or a cat, or a cat with little ones around the yard. - Concerned resident of the RM of Prince Albert
“Well, they were going to hurt my babies!” his wife replied with a laugh. “Then, I brought the cats in for the night.”
Although they’re currently taking care of 10 stray cats, this number is always changing, with a handful missing and presumed dead.
Prince Albert SPCA manager Debbie Lehner said that she’s heard people claim over the years that cats have been dumped in the rural municipalities around the city, something that doesn’t surprise her too much, because it happens at the SPCA, too.
“We just got another box of three kittens today,” she said earlier this week. “We’re overrun again, with kittens … It just never ends. It’s frustrating. As fast as we adopt them, we get more in.”
It all comes down to irresponsible pet ownership, she said, noting that the SPCA takes in strays when it can, but don’t take in people’s established pets.
“It’s their responsibility to find them homes,” she said.
When it comes to influxes of kittens, it comes down to the same simple message that comes up during almost every conversation about cat populations.
With a firm and steady voice, Lehner repeated her most commonly spoken message, yet again.
“Have your pets spayed or neutered.”