Saskatchewan is currently experiencing an explosion in its cat population; it is suspected that the dramatic increase occurred for several reasons. Throughout the COVID shutdowns, many people were taking in pets for care. However, once people got back to work, many people opted to turn the animals over to local shelters. This, combined with the lack of sterilization and sterilization, has led to the current “crisis”.
Shaylene Hamilton from Weyburn and Vice President of A+ Animal Rescue spoke to us about the current crisis. Over the past few months, in the Weyburn and Stoughton area alone, A+ Animal Rescue has rescued over 56 cats and had to euthanize an additional 20 cats due to illness. However, its reach extends beyond the Weyburn area to Indian Head, Wawota, Kipling and Kronau. Hamilton shared that throughout the year they also respond to calls for stray cats, neglect and abuse.
With the population explosion and the expense of vaccinations, sterilization and sterilization, many are finding that they are unable to handle the increase. One call included the discovery of a litter of kittens dumped in a bin with a sign attached saying the kittens were free.
To provide food, safety and support for the multitude of kittens being born, many A+ Animal Rescue staff currently bottle-feed kittens. Hamilton explained that it’s a 24/7 commitment that requires feeding the kittens every three hours. Hamilton shared that she is currently bottle-feeding ten kittens.
“In one summer, the population can quadruple pretty easily,” Hamilton said. “It’s out of control; I don’t know of any rescue that doesn’t overflow.
We asked Hamilton how people can help deal with the current crisis.
“If anyone is able to become a foster family, we provide our foster families with all the supplies they need, including food and bedding, and all veterinary care, we are fully managed by donations, so donations are always welcome,” Hamilton explained. “Our vet bills typically run into the thousands each year.”
Community outreach options are also available. A+ Animal Rescue offers an educational program in conjunction with fundraising programs to help support the nonprofit organization financially.
While there are many indoor cats and kittens available for adoption, some cats prefer to live outdoors, which is why A+ Animal Rescue also offers discounted Barn Cat Packages.
“We understand how life on the farm works, we make sure all the cats are neutered and spayed and have all their vaccines vaccinated so the population can’t get out of control and they are healthy,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton also expressed his sincere gratitude to Pet Value who gave them discounts to help manage the needs.
To see photos of some of the cats currently available for adoption, you can visit the A+ Animal Rescue Facebook pages here and here. You can also visit the site here. For further assistance, you can contact them during regular business hours at (306) 660-0392. You can also email them to [email protected] or [email protected]