British Columbia

'Too many kittens': Report shows room for improvement on cat overpopulation

More Canadians are spaying and neutering their cats, but feline overpopulation continues to be a problem across the country, according to a new study from an animal welfare organization.

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies says more cats are being sterilized, finding homes

Drake is one of the many kittens up for adoption through the SPCA. (CBC)

More Canadians are spaying and neutering their cats, but feline overpopulation continues to be a problem across the country, according to a new study from an animal welfare organization.

About 94 per cent of Canadians who own cats say their pets are spayed or neutered, up from 80 per cent in 2012, according to a survey included in a Canadian Federation of Humane Societies report.

But even so, animal shelters are still taking in about twice as many cats as they are dogs.

Overpopulation continues to be a problem in Metro Vancouver, according to Marcie Moriarty, Chief Prevention and Enforcement Officer for the B.C. SPCA.

"We're still seeing too many unwanted births, too many kittens coming in through shelters and not enough spay and neuter," Moriarty told CBC News.

A young cat meets a new friend at the B.C. SPCA. (CBC)

She suspects one major source for those kittens is the many "loosely owned" cats that don't have permanent homes.

"About one out of 11 people say they're caring after a cat but they don't really own it. It's those cats that are missing out on the spaying and neutering," she said.

More homes for cats

The report is an update to a similar study done five years ago, and includes the results of an Ipsos survey conducted last May.

The authors found a number of areas of improvement, including progress in finding permanent homes for cats. About 60 per cent of cats that came into Canadian shelters in 2016 were adopted, up from 43 per cent in 2011.

At the B.C. SPCA, Moriarty says the goal is to see every cat adopted.

"We find all healthy, adoptable cats a home, but it does put pressures on our organization and other shelters," she said.

According to the report, nearly 37 per cent of Canadian households have at least one cat. In all, about 9.3 million cats are owned by people in this country.

With files from Dan Burritt and the Canadian Press

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