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More local farmers dealing with cat crisis

A problem that's costing farmers hundreds of dollars a month, and rescue agencies thousands, is only getting worse.

A cat rescue in North Gower is doing its best to raise awareness and money, as it tries to deal with a growing feral cat problem at barns in the area.

It started about a year ago when the Adopt Me Cat Rescue took in 57 cats, which had been living in a Kemptville barn. 

"People are dropping these cats at farms thinking, 'Oh they're going to be living in a beautiful barn and they've got mice.' That's not what happens," explained volunteer at the rescue Janice Richard. "What happens is these cats come in there, and they get pushed out by the tom cats that are there. Then they get killed by the predators that are around."

Richard said 30 of the Kemptville cats have since been adopted, but now three more farmers have gotten in touch with the rescue -- two of which are asking for help -- and she thinks there are many more in the region who have yet to come forward.

"We've heard of some barns having 100 or more cats. When you get into those numbers, it's very difficult for us as one little rescue, to deal with," she added.

The cost of vetting and rehabilitating an entire barns-worth of cats can reach between $5,000 and $8,000, and before a rescue agency steps in, it can cost a farmer more than $800 a month just to try to keep a barn full of cats alive.

Richard described an easy solution to the problem, "Stop dumping your cats [at farms]. Go to the humane society. Call a rescue -- we're here to help you. Dumping them is just a horrific end for these animals."

The Adopt Me Cat Rescue is in talks with other local cat rescue agencies as well as the Ottawa Humane Society, to see how they can best team up to tackle this problem.

"We're trying to get people to talk to your MP, talk to your [city] councillors and let them know that this problem exists," explained Richard. "It's not going to go away, it's actually going to just get worse."

The volunteer also asked that you make a donation to your local rescue agency, if possible, as the feral cat fight continues.


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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