For the Townsman
It was a rainy October morning when a tiny, four-week-old kitten was spotted, wet, muddy, and huddling against a building for warmth —one of the many homeless cats in Cranbrook’s feral cat colonies. Fortunately, she was scooped up by BC SPCA staff and brought into a warm foster home. She is one of the lucky ones.
Brenna Baker, BC SPCA East Kootenay Branch manager said outdoor life is hardest on kittens. “Sadly, many do not survive. Homeless cats across the province suffer needlessly from illness, injury, frostbite, predator attacks, starvation and more.
“This preventable problem can easily be solved with British Columbians’ taking responsibility for their cats by ensuring they are spayed or neutered by the time they are six months old.”
Thanks to a $83,957 grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada to fix 750 owned and free-roaming cats within the city, many cats throughout Cranbrook are on the road to a healthier, happier life. To date, more than 550 kittens and cats have been spayed and neutered at no cost to their caretakers. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of accidental litters and unwanted kittens by removing all cost barriers.
“With just over two months left in the program, we are asking the community to help us achieve our goal and take advantage of this limited-time resource,” Baker said. “Spaying and neutering your pet is one of the best things that you can do to help cat overpopulation, but the decision also has benefits for cat guardians.”
Spaying and neutering provides lifelong health benefits and behaviours such as spraying, roaming, fighting and howling often subside. Even if the cat is an indoor cat, his/her risk for developing common cancers of the reproductive system is significantly reduced, Baker said.
Currently, all Cranbrook residents can fix their cats for free by contacting the Cranbrook SPCA. The program is expected to finish in December, but may wrap up sooner if the remaining 200 surgeries are reached before the goal date.
“Spaying and neutering your pet is one of the best things that you can do to help,” Baker said. “We are excited to provide no-cost spay/neuter surgeries for the people who want to do it, but can’t afford the cost.”