'It's going to take some tough love' to get this feral cat colony under control

Volunteers remove rotten food and feces as part of cleanup of longtime feral cat colony in Kamloops, B.C.'s north shore area

Kamloops, B.C., volunteers try to help after reports on social media mention sick animals in the area

A cat sits in the sun near a feral cat colony on the north shore of Kamloops. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Volunteers with Four Paws Food Bank in Kamloops, B.C., have been hauling out bags of rotten cat food and feces from a feral cat colony on the city's north shore.

In the first two days of the cleanup, they removed more than 80 pounds of food from the area. They are hoping the cleanup will help improve conditions after reports surfaced on social media about sick animals being spotted in the area.

Bonnie McBride runs Four Paws Food Bank and says her group was tagged in a Facebook post after someone was walking through the north shore area and spotted a number of sick looking cats.

Four Paw Food Bank head, Bonnie McBride warns people not to dump cat food for feral cats. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

"It has ... a considerable number of stray cats and it's gotten a little out of hand now," said McBride.

Cat colonies form when a group of feral cats have access to food and shelter, often created when people provide food to the animals.

In Kamloops, the Humane Society has been working with this colony since 2012. It's been trapping, neutering and releasing animals in the area. In an email to CBC, Kamloops and District Humane Society executive director Barbara Zibrik says that although most areas are under control, there is one section of the north shore the organization continues to struggle with.

'It's going to take some tough love'

The north shore colony has been in existence for more than two decades, but McBride says the population seems to have increased from 30 or 40 animals to upwards of 100.

She says one of the main reasons for the population spike is because people drop off animals knowing that the animals are being fed.

"This is actually one of the worst things you can do because not only does it threaten the health of the cat you drop off, but it's threatening the health of all the cats here," said McBride.

She also warns people against dumping out bags of food in the belief that it will help the strays.

"If it rains three hours after you dump 40 pounds of cat food down, it's all garbage. If you come back and dump another pile of cat food on top of that, it is not edible and it is not safe," she said

"It's done with the best of intentions, but it can create rampant disease, rampant parasites within this colony and some of these cats will not be able to survive that."

Four Paws Food Bank now plans on creating shelters for the cats along with signage to let people know that the cat colony is being managed, and to urge people not to dump food or any more animals.

'It's going to take some tough love to get this neighbourhood back under control in terms of its cat population, but I think it's doable."

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About the Author

Jenifer Norwell

Writer

Jenifer Norwell has been working with CBC radio since 2008. She's worked with CBC Prince George, Vancouver and Sudbury before returning to her hometown of Kamloops.

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