As British Columbians return to work and school routines after summer vacation, an overwhelming number of cats and kittens are being surrendered to the BC SPCA, with numbers soaring higher each week.
“It’s a province-wide problem. Interior shelters are being inundated with kittens and we have a waiting list here,” says Burnaby SPCA manager Ryan Voutilainen, adding that several branches have up to 100 kittens awaiting adoption – in the shelters and in foster homes. “The kittens in foster homes still need to be adopted. And we still have older cats who need homes who get forgotten when kittens are available.”
The BC SPCA takes in 29,000 animals each year. Currently, there are 933 kittens and 760 cats who need homes in B.C.
Yet BC SPCA branches still only have a certain amount of space, staff and volunteers to properly care for animals; people looking to surrender their pets can do so by appointment only because the organization’s capacity for care is limited, Voutilainen notes. “We are always here as a safety net for animals, but it is important for people to take appropriate steps to find an alternative if they can no longer look after their pet. That’s part of their responsibility as a pet guardian.”
He urges anyone wanting to surrender an animal – especially a cat or kittens – to first, appeal to friends and family who may be able to take the animal into a loving home. “Owning a cat or any pet is a commitment – one that comes with huge rewards,” he says. “While we do as much as we can to provide the best care, being in a shelter environment is not ideal. Cats are much better off in loving homes.”
If people are looking to take a pet into their home, they should consider also having a backup plan such as pet insurance to cover any potential medical costs, as many animals are surrendered to shelters by guardians who cannot afford veterinary care, Voutilainen says.
If you are looking to adopt please visit spca.bc.ca/adopt to view animals ready for adoption. If anyone is able to help with the ongoing costs for the high number of kittens and cats in provincial BC SPCA shelters and in foster care as well as other animals in need, donations will be gratefully received online at spca.bc.ca/support. Or visit your local BC SPCA branch today – find the location nearest you at spca.bc.ca.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.