The Nova Scotia SPCA has a plan to tackle the province's feral cat over-population problem by setting up trap-neuter-return population control programs in communities where there are feral cat colonies.
The SPCA doesn't know just how many feral cats there are in Nova Scotia, but the organization describes the situation as a "crisis," and according to its website, members of the group believe ignoring the "the feral cat problem is inhumane."
Elizabeth Murphy, chief executive officer of the SPCA, estimates there could be up to half a million cats in the province. The SPCA is asking for the public's help to find out where all the colonies are in the province.
"First we need to identify the colonies to really understand where they're located, what sort of health, needs the colony has, the predators it's facing," Murphy told Information Morning.
Once they know where the colonies are located, they'll prioritize which colonies should receive the program first.
Mobile clinic to travel to colonies
So far, 87 people have completed the SPCA's survey, identifying 87 colonies from Yarmouth to Sydney. The survey will be available until the end of this month.
The organization is in the process of purchasing a mobile spay-neuter clinic that can travel around the province.
"My hope is we're able to roll out and be on a cat colony by the end of spring," she said.
They are also hoping to connect with people who regularly visit and feed the cats in a colony, and they want to coordinate the trap-neuter-return program with local cat rescue groups who are already familiar with the colonies.
They also hope to work with local veterinarians to perform the spaying and neutering.
The SPCA received a large donation to help with this program.
Murphy said it is possible some of the cats in the colonies can be adopted.
"There are cats living in the wild that people may identify as being wild and unsocialized but over time they can become comfortable and familiar and be lovely pets at the end of the day," she said.