Overpopulation of cats requires action

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There is a crisis cat over-population in Edmonton and area right now that no one is talking about.

It is estimated from a city review on colonies, the number of felines taken in by ACCC bylaw officers who report on concentrations in the city that there are 70,000 homeless cats.

Some could be owner-roaming cats but that percentage would be small.

The Edmonton Humane Society is closed for admissions now. When they were open they would not accept any cat not deemed to be in distress and the public was told to return the cat to where it was found.

A seven-month old un-spayed, pregnant cat was considered not to be in distress and the finder was told to return her to where she was found. She was carrying five kittens.

The surrounding communities like St. Albert, Sturgeon County, Strathcona, Leduc are contributing to this crisis by not having their own facility (pound) to accept strays.

The public is contributing to the crisis by not spaying and neutering their cats, by allowing their cats to roam.

Animal Care & Control Center (ACCC) is bursting at the seams, they do not turn away any cats, The Edmonton Humane Society has guidelines on how many and what types of cats they will transfer from ACCC for adoption so what happens to all the unclaimed cats, the cats that are not claimed, that are not transferred?

No one is talking about that. One rescue group in the city has saved over 220 of these cats so far this year. Other rescues try and are at capacity right now.

The hard, unspoken truth that no one is talking about is that there is the potential that healthy cats will be euthanized because there is no space for the overwhelming, continued new admissions.

For this I fault the public who are irresponsible and get free, unaltered kittens off Kijiji; the public who let their unaltered cats free-roam; the surrounding communities that do not take responsibility with having their own pounds (that could include contracting a vet clinic) to act as the pound until a facility can be built; and the EHS, ACCC, THE AVMA (Alberta Veterinarian Medical Association) who have not partnered to formulate a plan to be proactive dealing with this chronic and acute issue.

Low cost spay/neuters need to be made available to the farmers and rural residents who do not qualify for the PALS program where waits are six months, anyway. Politics must be put aside, pressure needs to be put on the surrounding communities to take ownership for their community. We, the general public, need to get actively involved to make difference by contacting our councillors, and stepping up to foster cats for the many rescues that work tirelessly, 24/7 to save as many cats as they have foster homes.

The media needs to make this an important story that gets everyone’s attention. Would this merit media attention if these were dogs?

Linda Osland, Sturgeon County

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