Community Cat Care & Management
In January 2019, we formally proposed to the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) that we provide a trap, neuter, and return program for municipalities experiencing feral cat overpopulation issues as well as providing our spay and neuter services to owners who meet a low income threshold.
The proposal was approved by the ABVMA Council and we implemented a Community Cat Care and Management program pilot project in April 2019. This project took place in a small hamlet, Carseland, AB and was supported by the Carseland Public Benefit Club. It was very successful, with 84 feral cats trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, treated for parasites, provided with permanent identification, and released under the care of local caregivers. An additional 25 cats that weren’t suitable to be released were placed with rescue groups to be rehomed.
The Community Cat Care and Management Program is a holistic program that requires strong support from the community and provides a targeted and systematic trap, neuter and release element as well as continuing care of the community cats.
Components of the Program
Engaging and gaining the support of local stakeholders including local veterinarians, elected or appointed officials including Bylaw Officers, existing local cat caregivers, rescue groups, community members and all those impacted by free roaming cats. We will request funding for the program from the municipality but subsidizes the program as required. Our team will meet with all stakeholders in order to ensure good communication and support.
In order to deliver a consistent message and ensure the humane and safe care of all cats, a CATF representative will be the contact point for the program.
Marketing and Public Relations
Publicizing the program through local media and social media. This will include education regarding the importance of spaying, neutering, identification and vaccinating of owned cats. Owners may be requested to keep their own cats indoors leading up to and during the clinic in order to ensure owned cats are not captured.
Locating Cats and Counting
Identifying colonies and problematic areas; estimating the number of cats and evaluating the health of cats.
Spay and Neuter Clinic
Providing an ABVMA licensed, high volume on-site spay and neuter clinic located within the community or at a partner veterinary clinic. We have protocols regarding ear tipping, parasite control, tattooing, labeling traps, quarantining, sedation, surgery, recovery, housing, recovery time, low stress handling, etc.
Ongoing Care by Local Volunteers
Local caregivers are expected to ensure food, water and shelter are provided, keep colonies clean, monitor for new intact cats, and also to monitor for illness or injuries. Community caregivers are the liaison between businesses and community members and are expected to address any concerns. A budget will be set up for veterinary care for these cats after the clinic. We will mentor and provide support for volunteers on an ongoing basis if necessary.
Looking for Assistance?
We currently don’t have the capacity to assist all requests but we are hoping to expand our cat program. We’re keeping track of the location of the cats requiring help and, if we have the resources or plan to be in your area, we will contact you.