Saskatchewan

A grim sign of fall: kittens, cats being dropped off at farms and acreages

The Regina Cat Rescue said there's an increase in calls about abandoned cats and kittens every fall.

The Regina Cat Rescue said there's an increase in calls about abandoned cats, kittens every fall

Bettyanne Corbin was able to find homes for these kittens she found near her rural property. (Submitted by Bettyanne Corbin)

Not long after moving to an acreage, Bettyanne Corbin saw first-hand something that happens in rural areas: kittens being dropped off for someone else to take care of them. 

While driving home one day, Corbin saw little tails on the side of the road. She pulled over and saw three kittens. 

"They're quite small, like they barely fit in the palm of my hand," Corbin said. "And they were scared so they kind of ran off and hid, but they're crying and crying." 

Corbin, her son, and her boyfriend all went out to catch the kittens and brought them back to their acreage near McLean, Sask., about 30 minutes east of Regina. . 

"They were small like skin and bones. They had leaky eyes," she said. "They definitely wanted to be around people but they were definitely scared." 

These kittens were scared and huddled when Bettyanne Corbin first brought them home, she said. (Submitted by Bettyanne Corbin)

Alanna Whippler of Regina Cat Rescue said some families are consistently looking for help year after year. The number of calls for help increase with the colder weather in the fall, she said. 

These cats don't tend to fare too well. They're pretty much coyote bait.​​​​​​- Alanna Whippler

"I think that people maybe have a perception that cats will ... adapt just fine to being out in the wild on their own," Whippler said. "It's generally not the case. These cats don't tend to fare too well. They're pretty much coyote bait."

Corbin kept the kittens she found for about a month before trying to find new homes. That search has its own challenges. 

"You want to make sure that they're getting a good home," she said. "Because they aren't always. Not everyone is a good person. You can only tell so much from asking people a few questions to make sure they are going to be a good pet owner." 

Corbin was able to find homes for all the kittens dropped off to her.

Tami Knippshild, another acres owner, knows that not all the animals make it.

Yeti is one of the cats dropped off at Tami Knippshild's property. (Submitted by Tami Knippshild)

In one case, someone had dropped off two kittens but she only knew about one. She found the other next summer while she was doing some cleanup. 

"He obviously couldn't couldn't manage on his own," she said. "We buried him. What else can we do?" 

Knippshild has raised cats dropped off at her property into adulthood. (Submitted by Tami Knippshild)

Whippler said cat overpopulation is rampant in Saskatchewan and across North America.

People can help the situation by spaying and neutering, she said, so they don't contribute to the problem. 

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