Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Part One Of A PetSmart Three-Part Series On Canada's Cat Overpopulation Crisis

Welcome to the first in a 3-part series about the cat overpopulation crisis in Canada. We’ll begin by examining the low-cost spay/neuter solution.

Low-cost spay/neuter clinics ease burden on communities

Less than one half of 1 percent of all cats who end up in shelters are spayed or neutered, according to new research.

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) recently studied the problem of cat overpopulation across the country. CFHS collected opinions from nearly 500 shelters and rescue groups, veterinarians, government organizations and spay/neuter groups.

Their findings, published in the report “Cats in Canada,” explain the consequences of overpopulation and suggest ways pet lovers can help Canadian cats.

Cats are everywhere in Canada

CFHS estimated that, in 2012, there were 10.1 million cats in Canada. 37.7 percent of households owned a cat, which means about 1 owned cat for every 3 Canadian residents.

Doing the math, that’s a lot of cats without homes. Some are in shelters or homeless — people might feed them, but the cats don’t live with anyone. Others are feral, living outdoors with or without some human support.

The CFHS research found that many shelters and rescue groups are at capacity. Overburdened shelters struggle to care for so many pets due to limited space and resources. Often, healthy, adoptable cats are euthanized simply to make space for more cats.

Twice as many cats arrive at shelters as dogs. And less than half of them find homes.

The bad news: Canada has too many cats and not enough homes for them. The good news: We can solve the problem and prevent overpopulation through spay/neuter.

Subsidized spay/neuter clinics offer a solution

While it is hard to know why so many cats are unaltered, people close to the problem understand how to address it in communities. 70 percent of respondents in the CFHS survey agreed that access to low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter services was the single most important solution to the overpopulation crisis.

PetSmart Charities of Canada® provides grants to animal welfare groups to set up clinics that perform high-quality spay/neuter surgeries at affordable prices. It’s the best way to help control the cat population.

A community problem finds a community solution

Canadian communities are already tackling the cat overpopulation problem. Partnerships among shelters municipalities, and rescue groups, veterinarians, municipalities and volunteers are working to end to this crisis.

One great example: The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) has performed 37,000 high-quality spay/neuter surgeries since 2009 as a result of the grant they received from PetSmart Charities of Canada. The $233,500 grant funded 5 low-cost spay/neuter clinics in Ontario, 3 of which are already open, and an additional $14,000 in grants paid for staff education.

The clinics are making a difference already: the number of cats entering OSPCA adoption centers throughout Ontario has declined by 18 percent. In Barrie alone, where a spay/neuter clinic has operated since fall 2009, cat intake is down 40 percent.

Become a community leader

You can create success in your community, just like the OPSCA. Consider applying for a PetSmart Charities of Canada grant.

To learn how your agency can secure funding for low-cost spay/neuter clinics, check out this webinar. It highlights just what we are looking for in grant applications.

Applications for Canadian grants for targeted high-impact and free-roaming cat spay/neuter programs will be available from July 15 through September 3 at noon Mountain time.

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