PETAWAWA – The OSPCA Renfrew County Animal Centre is knee deep in cats, and needs the public's help.
On Sunday, the shelter hosted its first ever Kitten Shower, an effort to both raise funds and gather donations to help offset the costs of caring for the felines, and also to help encourage people to adopt a furry friend or two.
Heather Jobe, an animal care attendant at the shelter, said this year has seen an overwhelming increase in the numbers of cats and kittens that have come into their care, especially compared to last year.
“The first six months of 2016 saw 164 cats and 80 kittens arrive at our door needing help,” she said. “In the same time span of 2017 we have taken in 189 cats and 173 kittens.”
Jobe said these population increases have put a huge strain on the centre's resources to care for all the animals, so it was decided to reach out into the community for help.
People were encouraged to make donations of money, food or cat toys either in person or online. An Amazon.ca wish list of urgently needed items has been set up at https://www.amazon.ca/registry/wishlist/ZOZODDXZK1NQ/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_ws_t2_9zKyzbKVPKQR2, or folks can hit the centre's website through ontariospca.ca for a link to make donations. One can even call 613-588-4508 to make a donation over the phone.
Volunteer Lea Thompson said they don't know why there is an explosion in the number of cats. People not spaying or neutering their pets is one explanation, but sometimes these population increases come in cycles.
“This may be a bumper crop year,” she said. There is also the fact Petawawa has a transitory population, and sometimes people can't take their pets with them, so they are surrendered to the animal centre.
Jobe said they are trying to get the message out to encourage people to spay and/or neuter their pets – a list of places to get it done economically are on the website FixYourPet.ca – or to adopt from a an OSPCA animal centre.
“Our adoption fees are a real bargain,” she said, At $75, it covers everything from a spay/neuter to vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, pet insurance and a supply of cat food.
Compare that to a “free” kitten which if given the same level of treatments would cost $485 on average.