Despite decades of campaigns, and even the creation of a discounted SPCA spay and neuter clinic in Kamloops, some cat owners just don’t get it.
Cats and kittens are being dumped on the street, left to fend for themselves, to have litter after litter of kittens that become feral and almost impossible to tame.
Many eventually die — cold, hungry and sick.
The SPCA shelter is limiting its intake to 50 cats and kittens, and closed its doors recently because of a ringworm outbreak. Even before that, it had a waiting list months’ long for cat intakes.
The Kamloops and District Humane Society doesn’t have a shelter, it works out of volunteers’ homes. It has a network of fosters, but they, too, are beyond full.
Free classified ads like Kijiji are bursting with offers of kittens available to go “to good homes.” Every caller will have a good home, I’m sure. Who would admit, “I’d like a kitten I can kick around, abuse and abandon?”
Here’s what one of those “good homes” was like.
A couple in their 20s took in one kitten from the woman’s co-worker and got another free from a Kijiji ad. Neither kitten was ever taken to a vet for a check-up or vaccinations.
A couple weeks ago, the couple was moving out of town. One Sunday morning, they took the kittens — now three and six months old — to the SPCA shelter, which couldn’t help.
They were told to call Barb Zibrik at the humane society, but they didn’t. The SPCA called Zibrik and left her a message with the couple’s phone number.
Zibrik called when she got home at 5 p.m. The woman told her they dumped the kittens that morning behind an apartment off Tranquille and 12th Street — a high traffic area.
Zibrik asked them to go back to help her find the kittens, if they were still there, but the woman replied she was in the middle of dinner at a restaurant and she’d call back.
After 10 minutes, Zibrik called again. The woman seemed unconcerned, but Zibrik pushed, knowing the kittens were in trouble. The woman’s boyfriend didn’t want to drive, so Zibrik offered to pick her up. Finally, the couple relented.
They found the kittens, terrified and shaking under a storage unit. Zibrik took them into the society’s care. She was stunned by the callousness from an otherwise seemingly nice couple.
Despite the trauma, those kittens were lucky. Others are not.
So to anyone who has not spayed or neutered their cats, who now has kittens needing homes, I ask you: How do you know those kittens will be loved and cared for?
And if you can’t find homes for those kittens, what then? What will you do when they outgrow the cute stage, become gangly and can’t compete with the new fluffballs that keep coming?
Here’s what can happen when cats are abandoned because someone moves and leaves them behind.
Zibrik got a message a few days ago from a woman saying her neighbour had moved and left a mother cat and four kittens. The feline family had moved into her garage.
“She told me that if I didn’t take care of this, she would lock them in the garage. With her truck running,” Zibrik said.