Saskatchewan is currently experiencing an explosion in its cat population; the dramatic increase is suspected to have come about for a few reasons. Throughout the COVID lockdowns, many people were taking in pets to help keep themselves occupied. However, once people went back to work many people chose to surrender the animals to local shelters. This combined with the lack of spaying and neutering has led to the current "crisis".
Shaylene Hamilton of Weyburn and Vice-President of A+ Animal Rescue spoke with us about the ongoing crisis. In recent months in just the Weyburn and Stoughton area alone, A+ Animal Rescue has rescued over 56 cats and has had to euthanize an additional 20 cats due to disease. However, its reach extends beyond the Weyburn area to Indian Head, Wawota, Kipling, and Kronau. Hamilton shared that throughout the year they are also responding to calls of stray cats, neglect, and abuse.
With the population explosion, and the expense that comes with vaccination, spaying, and neutering, many are finding they are not able to manage the increase. One call included finding a litter of kittens disposed of in a garbage can with a sign attached that said free kittens.
To provide food, safety, and support for the multitude of kittens being born, many of the staff with A+ Animal Rescue are currently bottle-feeding kittens. Hamilton explained that this is a 24/7 commitment that demands feeding the kittens every three hours. Hamilton shared that she is currently bottle-feeding ten kittens.
“In one summer, the population can quadruple quite easily,” said Hamilton. “It is out of control; I don’t know any rescue that’s not overflowing.”
We asked Hamilton how people can help with the ongoing crisis.
“If anyone is able to foster, we supply our fosters with all the supplies they need including food and litter, and all the veterinary care, we are completely donation run so donations are always welcome,” shared Hamilton. “Our vet bills usually run in the thousands every year.”
Community outreach options are also available. A+ Animal Rescue provides an education program in conjunction with fundraising programs to help financially support the nonprofit organization.
While there are many indoor cats and kittens available for adoption, some cats prefer to live outdoors, therefore, A+ Animal Rescue also offers Barn Cat packages at a reduced price.
“We understand how life on the farm works, we make sure that we have all the cats spayed and neutered and have all their vaccinations so the population can’t get out of control and that they are healthy,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton also expressed her sincere gratitude to Pet Value who has been giving them discounts to help manage the need. Hamilton also shared they are not managing the increase on their own, she emphasized the hard work and dedication of Fixing Feral Felines who has contributed enormously to the growing problem, Sherri Blunden is currently taking care of 36 cats on her farm.
To see pictures of some of the cats that are currently available for adoption, you can go to the A+ Animal Rescue Facebook pages here and here. You can also go to the website here. For further assistance, you can contact them during regular business hours at (306)660-0392. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.