CORNER BROOK — Kim Fraser said people are being made aware of the rampant cat problem in the city, since the “east side cat” issue — where over 200 cats were retrieved from a single property in May.
Still, people need to take responsibility by spaying or neutering their cats, she said.
“People are too quick to abandon their responsibilities,” said Fraser.
She believes every neighbourhood in the city has a growing feral cat issue. Currently there are two smaller colonies of about 10 cats, and one larger, known of in the city, she said.
Fraser helped form Scaredy Cat Rescue with president Janice Higgins, two years ago when stray cats started coming around her house.
The pair wanted to address the problem of homeless cats before it grew.
The organization tries to follow the Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) model, where cats are live-trapped, neutered, and either released back to their natural outdoor colony or adopted.
Higgins said there is some opposition to releasing the cats when the animal could be euthanized.
“(Killing) doesn’t work when it comes to controlling the population,” she said. “It doesn’t address the problem.”
Each unspayed cat can have about three litters — of four to six kittens — each year.
Just because you can’t see the cats doesn’t mean they aren’t there, said Higgins.
She said feral cats often do not socialize with humans instantly, and could stay hidden in a wooded area for some time.
The group is working to educate the public on the seriousness of the problem and different prevention methods.
“It’s not a cat problem we have, it’s a people problem,” she said. “(Homeless) cats came from somewhere, someone owned that cat ... or their grandparents at some point.”
With the “eastside cat” situation, and the number of cats that need to be cared for, the Scaredy Cat Rescue volunteer base has been depleted.
The concensus at the group’s annual general meeting Wednesday night was to reunite the volunteers and continue to implement more trap, neuter, return projects.
The money to preform the sterilization procedures comes from fundraising. Currently, the group has $9,000 that will cover the costs of about 30 or 40 cats.
The group has grown from two members two years ago, to an eight-member board of directors last year. At the meeting, the number of board members was raised to 17 to accommodate all the volunteers that wanted a position.
Higgins said, the groups ultimate goal is to have an area designated in the city as a cat sanctuary.