Summer at the Edmonton Humane Society means that there is a lot more fur flying than usual.
This is the time of the year when cats have their litters, which means that the number of kittens being turned into the organization is on its usual spike. What is different is how the EHS is handling the influx.
“Any time we get to May, June, July, and August, we call it kitten season. The cats are having litters and they’re getting dropped off here: legally, illegally, etc.,” said Corey Mowles, director of operations for the organization.
That’s why it has started a new initiative this year. Called Capacity for Care, it essentially tries to find the optimum number of cats it can house at any given time. The intended effect is to result in more adoptions out and fewer cats on site.
The philosophy is that it’s the capacity that you can provide the best possible care for those animals.
“In the past, shelter mentality has been ‘let’s pack the cats to the rafters and we’ll save all the lives at once.’ The idea for Capacity for Care is ‘let’s allow them to be healthier.’ What happens typically when you get too many cats is that they get stressed out and then they get sick and then they can’t get adopted out. They end up creating more of a strain on the system because we have to care for them for longer.”
He said that people should now make appointments first before bringing in their animals that they want to be adopted.
“In the past, any day we could get 50 cats, or all of a sudden we would get one [cat]one day and 101 the next day. It was very difficult for us to manage that intake, to manage space, to manage resources. It’s a more plan-ful approach.”
The EHS also works with other shelters around the province to bring the same capacity-based viewpoint on a larger scale. “If Calgary has some space, we’ll say, ‘Hey’.”
The good news is that data from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies suggests that the overall cat population is on the decline thanks to the success of educational programs about the importance of spaying and neutering the animals. That’s the solution to any cat overpopulation, he added.
In the meantime, the organization held a special farmers’ market-style event on Sunday to help increase adoptions. MADE for PETS featured some of Edmonton’s best pet and animal-themed vendors out on the campus that the EHS shares with Edmonton’s Animal Care and Control Centre along 137 Avenue. It was a busy and successful afternoon with approximately 1,500 attendees and lots of animal adoptions.
The organization also has adoptions by donations for the rest of the month.