Careless pet ownership is to blame for a cat overpopulation problem that has forced the at-capacity SPCA to close its doors to additional felines.
“This isn’t unique to Prince Albert, this is all across, but each community has to start addressing the issues that are happening in their own community,” Prince Albert SPCA manager Debbie Lehner said.
“I think our community as a whole has to start addressing the cat overpopulation in the city. The city is overrun with these cats.
“Cats appear to be a disposable product to many people, and they just dump them.”
Currently, the SPCA is housing 50 cats -- a number that poses a health risk for the felines.
The SPCA isn’t scheduled to move into their brand new facility until early in the new year, meaning the bundles of fluff are being housed in their dilapidated building on Exhibition Drive -- a facility without a proper air exchange system.
Lehner said that she has health concerns for the cats if they stay in the facility for too long, under such crowded conditions.
Currently, euthanasia is not being looked at to free up space, she said, noting that euthanasia is a last resort option they reserve for cats too feral to adopt out.
The 50 cats currently housed at the SPCA are all adoptable, Lehner said, adding that as such, they all have owners out there, somewhere.
“It seems as fast as we’re adopting them out we’re getting more strays in, and the owners aren’t phoning to say they’re missing their cats,” she said.
This isn’t unique to Prince Albert, this is all across, but each community has to start addressing the issues that are happening in their own community. SPCA manager Debbie Lehner
“Why owners wouldn’t call, we just don’t understand. We ask ourselves that every day, and we still don’t have an answer.”
In many cases, it’s a mystery as to why cat are abandoned.
On Aug. 26, Prince Albert SPCA assistant manager Leanne Roberts found a friendly cat outside of the building.
“I noticed a backpack shoved under the gate, and when I went to check on the backpack and there was a cat inside it,” she recalled.
“She’s very friendly, very affectionate -- she was scared at first, but who wouldn’t be after being traumatized like that?”
Like all other cats at the Prince Albert SPCA, the backpack cat was somebody’s pet at some point -- abandoned to a now at-capacity facility intended to deal with strays.
With pet adoption slowing down over the winter months, Lehner is calling on the public to adopt cats now, so as to not have the animals stuck in their over-crowded facility for months on end.
The Prince Albert SPCA last closed its doors to stray cats due to their reaching a capacity of 50 exactly one year ago, to the day.
The Prince Albert SPCA can be contacted at 306-763-6110, and is located at 680 Exhibition Drive.