Three boxes of kittens have been found abandoned in Sparwood over the last month.
Tammy Blumhagen picked up the kittens upon finding them at the end of her parent’s driveway on Lower Elk Valley Road.
The kittens themselves ranged in age from five to six weeks old and were left in a taped up box overnight.
Blumhagen said that this isn’t a new problem in the Lower Elk Valley Road area, as several residents of that road have woken up to boxes on their doorsteps or cats left on their property for the last several years.
“It’s becoming a really big issue on the Lower Elk Valley Road where people just think it’s nice to drop off their unwanted animals so they can have a nice little farm home,” said Blumhagen.
In the case of her parents, a litter of kittens have been dropped off in boxes every few months for the last two years.
Other residents of the Lower Elk Valley Road have caught and spayed/neutered approximately 64 cats over the last few years.
Due to the increase in cats found in Sparwood over the last few years, the Spay Neuter Incentive Program (SNIP) has worked to help control the cat population.
“Right now, we provide subsidized spay/neuter services to owned cats and complete coverage of spaying or neutering for stray or found cats in Fernie, Hosmer and Elko. However, because we have seen an increased need for these services in Sparwood, we’ve begun to set aside funds to help homeless cats found in Sparwood,” said SNIP administrator Jenn Woods.
Full services to include Sparwood in SNIP have not been approved yet.
Woods added, “It’s tragic that these kittens are being abandoned but it’s also so great that there are so many people living in this community who see them and who want to help and who want to take action rather than just leave them.”
In the wintertime, Blumhagen said it isn’t uncommon to open up boxes dumped in the area only to find the contents inside frozen to death.
The abandonment of the kittens reflects similar drop offs of bunnies across Fernie parks last month.
“People are either being lazy or they can’t understand that not all of these cats will be able to have a beautiful farm life at a barn,” said Blumhagen who expressed difficulty in rehoming all of the felines that are left abandoned in the area.