Cats, cats, cats!

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Humane Society dealing with feline overcrowding, sends out plea to public

It’s a common case of too many cats coming in and not enough cats going out.

That’s the word from Miranda Jordan-Smith, the chief executive officer of the Edmonton Humane Society, who said that the organization is facing a cat crisis.

“The number of cats that are being admitted has persistently become greater than the number of cats that we’re able to adopt out,” she stated. “We just don’t have any more capacity.”

The facility has 285 kennel spaces for felines but vacancies fill up fast. It is currently closed to owner-surrendered cats but strays from outside the city of Edmonton are still being picked up. It also occasionally still receives transferred strays from City of Edmonton Animal Care and Control.

Dr. Anthea Smith, director of animal health at the society, elaborated on the situation and its possible repercussions, “We have been getting in more cats than we can house. Overcrowding of cats in a shelter puts them at increased stress and risk for disease. We desperately need the public’s help in providing homes for these shelter cats.”

To help ward off the problem, the organization has held two cat adoption events recently to modest success. Jordan-Smith suggested that getting families interested in adopting cats is one thing but there’s a larger issue at hand that must also be addressed.

“We do have a cat problem in society in general. Cats are just not valued to the same degree to what dogs are. To really solve the cat problem, I would say we need to start changing the public’s attitudes and perceptions around cats. We do see a lot of cats that just get dropped off here.”

There are feral cats that roam freely and procreate because they haven’t been spayed or neutered.

“And then, of course, they land on our doorstep, sometimes just dropped off like this morning where we had two bins full of kittens and three feral adult cats,” she said on Tuesday. “They tend to get dumped.”

Another cat adoption event called Mewvember 2.0 started on Wednesday and runs until tomorrow. Prospective adopters are allowed to choose how much they pay for each adult cat.

Every adopted animal receives a service package including spay or neuter surgery, the first set of vaccines, a complimentary vet exam, FIV and FeLV test, deworming, microchip, and an engraved identification tag, the value of all of which totals more than $580.

Jordan-Smith admitted that the organization does take a loss on these kinds of events but said that it shows how important it is to do everything to get animals adopted to loving permanent homes.

“It is kind of a bargain but we’re meeting a societal need at this point. Until we’re able to get some humane education out there to change the way people treat and value cats, then this is what we’re currently faced with.”

At the same time, pet owners wishing to surrender their pets are asked to wait until more space becomes available.

To further help the organization, the public is invite to celebrate its Happy Humane Birthday, a seventh anniversary party tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 each or $60 for a family of five or fewer. The event features entertainment and food courtesy of the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald.

The Edmonton Humane Society is located at 13620 163 Street. Call 780-471-1774 or visit www.edmontonhumanesociety.com for more information. Tickets were close to sell out before this edition went to press.

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Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.