50 cats from Prince Albert, Sask., head to the coast

A crew of cats from the prairies are off to find new families in Victoria.

Sask. town solving overpopulation problem with cross-country trip

The Prince Albert SPCA is taking nearly half of their cats and kittens to Victoria for adoption. (Prince Albert SPCA)

Dozens of cats from the prairies will soon be living a life by the sea.

This week, the Prince Albert SPCA is taking a road trip with 50 cats from their shelter to relocate them to Victoria.

In B.C.'s capital, there is actually a shortage of the furry friends to adopt, while Prince Albert is facing an overpopulation.

Liana Maloney, manager of the Prince Albert SPCA, said they currently have 137 cats in-house.

Mona is one of the 50 cats going to Victoria. (Prince Albert SPCA)

"That's up 58 per cent from last year so it's a lot of kittens and cats on board and we are a no-kill shelter so our capacity has been reached," Maloney explained on CBC Radio's Morning Edition on Monday.

"We want to reach out to some shelters that are also no-kill and want to help us out with getting some homes for these great little guys."

One of the cats moving to the Victoria is Pringles, who has spent 119 days in the Prince Albert shelter. He came in completely matted, suffering from an eye infection and in "pretty rough shape," according to Maloney.

After a shave and some medical attention, Maloney said the black cat's condition really improved.

"[He's] just a really sweet little cat. And very social too. Hopefully he's going to find his new home out there and enjoy the island weather"

A bunch of copycats

Maloney said the SPCA teamed up with the Greater Victoria Animal Crusaders on Vancouver Island, which had organized the rehoming of the felines.

This isn't the first time the organization has offered to help. Last fall they took 70 cats, all which found homes right away.

Cindy will also find a home in B.C. this month. (Prince Albert SPCA)

"There was a two-hour waiting list for them when they got there and they all got adopted within 48 hours. So we're hoping for another happy ending," said Maloney.

According to Maloney, the "cat shortage" in Victoria is due to the city's proactive spay and neuter program which has proved to be very effective in keeping cat populations from getting out of control.

Taking a page from the west coast city's book, the Prince Albert SPCA now makes sure every cat is spayed and neutered before it is adopted out, Maloney said.

They are expecting to see the positive results of this change within the next half a decade. 

Maloney said this process costs the shelter $150 per animal, but it still adopts them out to the public for $20.

'Labour of love'

All the cats headed to Victoria also received two vaccines each on Friday to prepare them for their new homes.

Now, the SPCA faces the task of packing up all the cats with others who get along.

It has rented a large cargo van. Maloney said two or three cats will be placed in each large kennel so they don't get too stressed during the road trip.

The group will spend the night in Alberta where they will get the chance to get out and get some exercise in a large garage.

"It's a real labour of love for the drivers that go and do this. It's not an easy trip," said Maloney.

Four organizations in Victoria have set up foster homes for each cat and have them all up for adoption.

With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition