The Alberta SPCA is making an appeal for donations after recently removing 143 cats from one home in the greater Edmonton area. The cats were not in distress which allowed Peace Officers to gradually deal with the situation. The owner agreed to surrender the cats to our organization.
“We prefer to work with owners whenever possible to improve conditions for animals,” said Ken Dean, Director of Animal Protection Services for the Alberta SPCA. “This allows us to reduce the stress on the owner, our Peace Officers, and most importantly, on the animals.”
Peace Officers first removed 35 cats from the home on Dec 12th. Once the situation became emotional and stressful for the owner, we thanked him for his time and made plans to return the following week. Our Peace Officers made a total of five visits to the home over five weeks to collect the cats. All were taken to the Edmonton Humane Society to be checked by a vet, and spayed or neutered. The cats were then placed in shelters for rehoming.
“The gradual approach to removing the cats allowed the owner to properly process what was happening, and to reduce the shock of having the cats removed”, said Dean. At one point, the owner even delivered two of the more difficult to catch cats to our office.
“When we work with the owner, we are in a better situation to share important information about animal welfare to ensure the circumstances do not return,” added Dean. “This type of approach has been shown to reduce recidivism for those who accumulate large numbers of animals.”
Cat hoarding situations are not rare in Alberta
Unfortunately, situations like this are not unusual. The Alberta SPCA investigated ten files in 2019 that involved 20 or more cats at one home. Alberta continues to have a cat over-population problem. Owners should expect to get their animals spayed or neutered as part of animal ownership in order to help keep the pet population under control.
This case serves as a reminder about the importance of spaying and neutering to help control the pet population. When it comes to cats, research shows kittens can have this surgery as young as six weeks old with no adverse health effects. Getting females spayed at a young age reduces the risk of them having an accidental litter. Many litters of kittens are born to owners who intended to get their cat spayed, but didn’t get it done before the cat became fertile. Most cats become reproductive at five to nine months old, but some can reproduce as young at 3.5 months old.
The cost of vet care and boarding for the animals in this case is expected to cost the Alberta SPCA over $25,000.