Humane society struggles with "cat-astrophe"

Dustin Gill
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Cages are filling up

The Moose Jaw Humane Society is making a plea to the residents of Moose Jaw to help alleviate what they are calling a “cat-astrophe.”

With over 80 felines living within the humane society facility alone and many more living in temporary foster homes, fundraiser and promotions coordinator Karla Pratt said there is simply not enough room left.

“It’s a combination of a few things,” said Pratt, citing a busy kitten season on top of a large number of older cats that have not been getting adopted.

“We’ve got a number of older teenagers, so they’re not cute little kittens anymore and we’ve got a lot of younger ones that still aren’t old enough to be vaccinated and adopted yet,” she said.

The kittens not yet ready to be adopted are either living in short-term foster homes or are going home with staff at the end of the night, but Pratt said this won't alleviate the problem for long.

“Someday when they are old enough," she said, "they will be coming back to the shelter and right now we don’t have the space for that.”

Kittens who can’t be kept in foster homes are usually kept in an isolated section of the shelter to keep them safe from diseases, as their immune systems are not yet developed. 

“Another concern, and this is something we take very seriously, is when we have this many cats, and probably 70 percent of them right now are strays with unknown backgrounds, unknown health histories, there is the potential for disease and illness,” said Pratt. “If one cat suddenly starts sneezing, it’s airborne and it has the potential to spread very quickly.”

She said the last thing compounding the situation is the high number of senior cats that have been at the shelter since as early as March of this year.

“One week I think we had six cats over the age of eight come in as surrenders," she said. "At that time we had the space to accept surrenders and they’ve been here since."

“A lot of people overlook the older cats. They have a lot of really good qualities and still have many years ahead of them in a lot of cases."

The overcrowding at the shelter has resulted in having to turn down surrenders.

“With surrenders we urge people very strongly to take that responsibility as a pet owner and try to re-home the animal themselves first, exhaust every alternative first and use us as a last resort only,” said Pratt.

She said one of the reasons people are willing to bring cats to the shelter is because of their low kill percentage, but that if the situation worsens euthanasia may become the last resort.

“We actually fall into the category of a no-kill shelter, even though from time to time we do have to for health reasons," she said. "But this could be one of those instances where we have to make that tough decision."

For the rest of this story pick up Friday's edition of the Times-Herald.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Humane Society, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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