The 1.6 million stray cats

They’re sick, they’re cold, they’re hungry and their life expectancy is 10 years less than it would be if they only had a home. They will either die of illness, poisoning, infection or injury, or they’ll be caught and taken to the local shelter where they will be killed.

They’re sick, they’re cold, they’re hungry and their life expectancy is 10 years less than it would be if they only had a home.

They will either die of illness, poisoning, infection or injury, or they’ll be caught and taken to the local shelter where they will be killed.

This is the plight of the approximately 1.6 million stray cats in Quebec.

Spring has come to Montreal, and love is in the air. With a growing cat population already seemingly out of control and little action on the part of the municipal and provincial governments to come up with a logical solution to the problem, these cats and their offspring don’t have much hope for survival.

According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Montreal, a cat that is not neutered can in theory become the patriarch to a family of 420,000 kittens in only seven years.

To put this in perspective, 11,000 children are born every day in North America compared with 77,000 kittens.

In addition to high reproduction rates, the inability to contain the stray cat problem is magnified by the carelessness of cat owners in our city.

In 2003, approximately 18,000 cats were abandoned in Montreal. Take the above numbers, and do the math, and it doesn’t take long to realize there are a lot of hungry mouths to feed.

The problem is then perpetrated by a wide misconception that feeding the cats is the compassionate thing to do, because catching them and bringing them to a rescue organization will only mean certain death for these fuzzy friends.

Shelter and rescue organizations such as the Berger Blanc at 9825 Henri-Bourassa St. East in Montreal and the SPCA on Jean-Talon West, have a euthanasia policy due to the sheer number of sick animals coming in.

However, there are several anti-kill rescue organizations such as ACSA, The Animal Rescue Network and Casca, who remain dedicated to sterilization and prevention and to finding homes for the cats that are brought to them.

Berger Blanc says feeding the cats only adds to the problem because it keeps the cats coming back to the neighbourhood.

He believes that people should catch the cats and have them sterilized and treated for illness at the local animal shelter.

Starting on May 15, residents of most of the east end boroughs will be offered a free 48-hour rental of a cage from Berger Blanc. Then they may take the stray cats to an organization that will find warm homes for our furry friends.

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