Nova Scotia

Got a mouse problem and a barn? SPCA looking for homes for feral cats

The Nova Scotia SPCA is asking that anyone with a barn or warehouse consider offering up space for a feral cat or two — especially if you have a mouse problem.

'Every cat deserves to have a safe environment to live in,' says Cape Breton SPCA's Verbena Brenton

The Nova Scotia SPCA says it urgently needs to find homes for dozens of feral cats. (Nova Scotia SPCA/Facebook)

The Nova Scotia SPCA says it's in urgent need of safe, warm homes for dozens of feral cats and is asking that anyone with a barn or warehouse consider providing them with care and shelter.

Feral cats tend to be wild, unsocialized cats that are fearful of humans. The SPCA says the best option for them is a barn home environment where they can interact with people at their own pace.

"Every cat deserves to have a safe environment to live in, whether they're feral or whether they're not," Verbena Brenton told CBC's Mainstreet Cape Breton.

She works with the SPCA's Cape Breton shelter and said it has a "Barn Buddies" program where people can choose to allow feral cats to live in their barns.

Brenton said they look for a barn or warehouse that's heated and out of the elements. As well, there needs to be a continuous supply of food and fresh water.

"So, someone has to take care of them, they cannot just be dumped into a barn and left to their own means," she said. "That is not what we're looking for. We want the animals to be safe."

The Nova Scotia SPCA says it just brought in 20 feral cats that need homes. (Nova Scotia SPCA/Facebook)

While many of these cats would be uninterested in human interaction, Brenton said some may warm up to their caregivers over time.

She noted that in exchange for room and board, the kitties can help provide rodent extermination services.

"Typically, most cats like to hunt, and if you put them in a situation where there are mice and rats, they're going to hunt," said Brenton.

She said the shelter works in conjunction with the Feral and Abandoned Cat Society in Sydney, which traps feral cats to have them spayed or neutered, with the intention of either releasing them into a colony or to be cared for.

Problem 'increasingly common in Nova Scotia'

The Nova Scotia SPCA's call to action came after the organization said it was recently contacted about four situations involving large numbers of cats urgently needing to be spayed/neutered and relocated.

In a news release, it said it was recently contacted by a rural Nova Scotia homeowner who had "a few unfixed cats" that over time grew to more than 40 cats.

"Unfortunately, situations like this are becoming increasingly common in Nova Scotia. Many caregivers are ashamed or embarrassed to admit they need to ask for help, or unaware what resources exist to help them in these situations," said the news release.

The SPCA says all cats in the barn cat program come fixed and in good health. (Nova Scotia SPCA/Facebook)

It said the first 20 cats have been brought into its Dartmouth shelter and are ready to find their new barn placements. The cats have been fixed and tested for diseases.

People who want to help can contact the SPCA.

The organization also asked that people report feral cat colonies to the SPCA.

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With files from Mainstreet Cape Breton

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