For every litter of kittens born in the wild, one kitten might live to be a year old.
“Some people think it’s a solution to drop off kittens and cats in the country but they will starve or be eaten by wild animals,” said Heather Pettit of the Vernon and District Animal Care Society.
“The solution is to have cats spayed or neutered. We recently heard from a man on a pension who was trying to feed 70 feral cats. He didn’t realize that there was anything he could do but somebody told him about us. We started with having the adult females spayed and are working on the others and the neutering.”
The Okanagan Humane Society took six of the tiny kittens to help find them homes and it also helps with spaying/neutering for feral and domestic cats whose owners can’t afford the operations.
In the past four years, the Animal Care Society has spayed/neutered more than 1,000 cats with the help of local veterinarians, and returned the cats to where they were found where they then have a better chance of survival.
“Adult feral cats cannot become domestic pets. Most of them don’t want anything to do with people,” said Pettit.
“We rely on donations to help pay the vets, who work at a reduced rate and to pay for cat food while animals are waiting to find homes. We also accept donations of cat food. We just couldn’t do this without the help of the vets.”
Dr. Kristina Ringness, of Crescent Falls Veterinary Hospital, is one of the local veterinarians who helps with spay days.
“As a veterinary hospital, we have worked closely with the Vernon and District Animal Care Society since their inception. Being able to offer an adoption centre for cats and kittens that have been abandoned or otherwise need homes at no cost to the society offers a rewarding opportunity to help a worthwhile close to our hearts. Volunteering time and providing resources at cost for a spay day allows us to combat the underlying feline overpopulation issue at its source by preventing more kittens from being born to colonies that are already overpopulated,” she said.
Creekside Animal Clinic, Central Animal Hospital, Armstrong Veterinary Hospital, and White Valley Veterinary Services also take part in the spay/neuter program.
Donations to the Animal Care Society can be made to Box 1564, Vernon, V1T 8C2.