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Canada's Cat Overpopulation Crisis
Canadians love cats. They are still this country’s most popular pet.
While cats are actually found in more Canadian households than dogs, sadly, they do not receive the same care and consideration as their canine counterparts. Education about dog behaviour is prevalent, dog-owner responsibilities are well established in municipal bylaws and canine companions are highly valued by Canadians. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for cats.
In most of the country, there is no dog overpopulation and, in some areas, there is even a shortage of dogs for adoption, while cat overpopulation continues to challenge communities across Canada. The impacts of this overpopulation are serious and include cats languishing in shelters long term, or worse, succumbing to stress-related illnesses. For cats who remain outdoors, risk of disease transmission, as well as illness, injury and death are daily realities.
What are the root causes of this overpopulation? If cats are not spayed or neutered and allowed to roam outdoors, the result is a lot of kittens on the streets and in animal shelters. And without permanent ID, a cat who gets lost might stay that way.
But the tide may be turning. After months of ground-breaking and intense industry research, CFHS’ National Cat Overpopulation Task Force has released a brand-new study about how the issue of cat overpopulation has evolved in the last five years. In our newly released report, we’re seeing evidence that cats are starting to be treated with the level of care they deserve. Attitudes are shifting, spay/neuter rates are going up and we’re seeing more cats with permanent ID, like tattoos and microchips – which help them to find their way home if they ever get lost or separated from their owner. Overall, we seem to be shifting to a more proactive approach to cat ownership in Canada, which is encouraging.
The good news is that we’ve taken some giant leaps forward in cat welfare since 2012. The bad news is that it’s not happening quickly enough to overcome Canada’s cat overpopulation crisis. We still have a long way to go. Shelters in your area are likely still overwhelmed with the number of cats in crisis – just like almost every other SPCA and humane society across the country. And, they need the help of CFHS today, more than ever.
As our members deal with these issues in their local communities, CFHS is working at the national level to develop new and innovative programs to help them address overpopulation and its impacts. CFHS also tracks how these innovative approaches are working.
While the situation may be improving, the pace of change is still too slow. That’s why CFHS is working to engage even more stakeholders in this next phase of work to overcome the crisis.
Download your copy of the report by clicking the image below:
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The Five Freedoms is a core concept in animal welfare that originated in a UK government report in 1965 and was then refined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. It states that an animal’s primary welfare needs can be met by safeguarding the following five freedoms:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from Discomfort by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
The Five Freedoms is a concept that is frequently referenced by animal welfare professionals around the world, especially in relation to farm animal care.
The 2018 CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference is set to take place at the Hyatt Regency Calgary April 22-23, 2018, with pre-events on April 21 and a post-event training day on April 24! Early bird registration is now open. Check out our program on conference.cfhs.ca register for the 2018 CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference here.
The CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference is the pre-eminent venue for thought leadership, sharing of ideas, networking and learning. It is Canada’s only animal welfare industry event that represents the entire diversity of animal welfare leaders in Canada. Whether you work with a humane society, SPCA, animal rescue, advocacy group, animal control, conservation, an academic institution or the government – or are just interested in animal welfare, our exciting conference is the place for you! It will arm you with all the inspiration, information, community connections and training you need to help build a Humane Canada on behalf of our nation’s animals.
What's the difference between a humane society/SPCA, rescue, municipal pound and satellite adoption centre?
Thank you for taking action to support Bill S-203, which would ban the import, export, public display, live capture and captive breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada. If passed, this Bill will create much-needed protections for these animals and put to rest the cruel practice of cetacean captivity.
Here is a sample form letter you can use to model your email to the Senate:
Bill S-203 is an important Bill that would ban the import, export, public display, live capture and captive breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada. If passed, this Bill will create much-needed protections for these animals and put to rest the cruel practice of cetacean captivity.
These self-aware, social and intelligent creatures are being kept in confined, isolated conditions in Canada, and Bill S-203 would end that. Bill S-203 does not threaten indigenous rights and freedoms, which are protected under the Constitution. The Bill can be easily amended to clarify it does not derogate any rights in relation to carved narwhal tusks or other products. Contrary to what some have said, cetaceans can still be rescued and rehabilitated in Canada under Bill S-203. These crucial activities would not be curbed in any way. Note that the Whale Sanctuary Project is considering sites in Nova Scotia and British Columbia for retiring cetaceans, which would give them a home that meets all of the accepted benchmarks of animal welfare, including the Five Freedoms and the Five Domains.
The objectives of research, rescue and rehabilitation, Aboriginal trade and public education that are so important to Canadians can continue to be met without keeping whales, dolphins and porpoises captive in aquarium holding tanks.
Please send Bill S-203 to Third Reading in the Senate. It is what Canadians want.
Learn more about the programs, activities and achievements of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies! Check out our most recent annual reports to find out how we're elevating animal welfare in Canada.
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