(Windsor, ON) – After a reference to the population of feral cats growing in Windsor and the region, the Windsor Essex County Humane Society has now removed information from their website. The situation, says the Society, has reversed.
In its view, there has actually been a drop in the number of homeless cats in the city and surrounding area.
Melanie Coulter, the executive director of the Humane Society told The Square the decrease in wandering cats can be credited to her organization’s spay and neuter program, which has been running since 2011.
“Prior to 2011 saw increases in our cat intake nearly every year which would indicate a growing community cat population,” Coulter said. “However, since 2011, we have actually seen our cat intake drop every year – an overall decrease of 45.8% between 2011 and 2016. Interestingly, 2011 was the year that our high volume spay/neuter clinic opened, and 2012 was the year municipalities began to offer cat spay/neuter vouchers.”
In an odd twist, Coulter adds domestic cats, “… also contribute to the community cat population, as their offspring are often abandoned by owners when homes can’t be found, so we want to ensure that we are able to offer as many of those surgery appointments as possible.”
The Society is just wrapping up a joint effort with PetSmart Charities of Canada to address community cat overpopulation. During July, 305 feral cats were spayed or neutered at no cost to their caregivers. This is the second time for the effort.
“We believe the turnaround in the community cat population was directly related to the increased access to affordable spay and neuter,” Coulter said.
Although Coulter says it is impossible to quantify the number of prevented births, she believes the number is considerable. Many of the female cats were, “… in heat or already pregnant when they came in for spay surgery.”
The Humane Society, as The Square reported, says those in the city who feed feral cats may be part of the problem. Instead they should bring the cats in to be spayed or neutered.