Letter: Kingston and area have out of control cat breeding crisis
While I am not currently officially associated with any rescue, in the past I have volunteered as the Foster/Adoption Coordinator for the Spay Neuter Kingston Initiative (SNKI). I continue to assist my friend Kendra Pople, a SNKI colony caretaker and who manages five colonies in Kingston, with physical, moral, and financial help when needed.
I remain passionate about stopping this animal suffering. Two breeding cats can have four litters of up to eight kittens per year. Those kittens will begin to breed at four months. It is never ending and out of control. On our streets, backyards, businesses, factories, and everywhere in between, we have cats suffering and dying from illness, traffic deaths, starvation, freezing, and kittens being born every minute. It compels me to reach out publicly to you. It is a brutal state of affairs.
One rescue right now has over 40 cats/kittens in her home with cages in every room. They are feral/semi-feral or just frightened cats with kittens. She is called day and night to trap these cats, at times with the caller threatening to kill them if she doesn’t respond. She is physically and psychologically exhausted.
I have witnessed the number of cats that gravitate to, are born into, or abandoned at the colonies. My current multi-cat household consists of eight (and one dog). This is a direct result of this overbreeding crisis. I have two choices: save it, or leave it on the street to continue to breed and suffer.
The latter choice is not the humane thing to do, but this is what’s going on here in this City. Many people are unaware of this crisis happening in Kingston and some don’t care. We as a community need to step up to the plate and do a better job.
I listened with concern to your podcast interview of Gord Hunter, the new Executive Director at the Kingston Humane Society (KHS). The general consensus of the conversation indicated that no one knows about the KHS and its operation. That’s because they are not a transparent business and never have been.
Hopefully, I can clear up some misconceptions and provide you with another perspective. Kingston does not need a larger facility, of which Mr. Hunter spoke of. He mentioned the facility was built before the amalgamation of Kingston Township and the City of Kingston to justify his statement regarding his plans. The Township was using the KHS back then and nothing has changed except we are now facing an out of control breeding crisis that no one wants to be held accountable for.
Even the KHS has refused to participate in helping this community by opening their Accredited Veterinary Hospital to the public and offering low-cost spay and neuter services to the rescues and hundreds of people who are trying to curb the breeding of unowned animals. The local veterinarians are keeping a low profile on the subject of a high volume/low-cost spay neuter clinic.
KHS is high-kill because the population of Kingston cannot foster or adopt the excess of animals being left at this facility. The feral or unsocialized cats, if they are left there, are immediately euthanized. Many rescues will not use the KHS knowing they are sending the animal to die.
KHS’s role in this community is to be humane and concerned about animal welfare. Refusing to help these rescues, support their efforts, and open their vet hospital borders on neglect. If any fundraising is to be done, it should be to alter or improve the current structure to accommodate an HVLC spay neuter clinic. A separate entrance to the building and small expansion is all that’s needed. If a mobile clinic like Welland OSPCA can do 30 animals a day, the KHS vet hospital can surely meet or exceed those numbers.
Finally, I should clarify the recent announcement that the Bath Spay and Neuter Clinic has relocated to Collins Bay — it is a locally owned vet hospital, and not high volume, accessible, or low cost. Their costs are less than normal, but the cost can be a barrier to many pet owners. Also, this Clinic will only accept ‘owned’ cats. That leaves all the 2000+ ‘unowned’ street and colony cats without this necessary medical help.
We are a growing number of animal advocates that understand the humane solution to this breeding crisis is an accessible, affordable clinic that everyone can use. We cannot adopt, rescue or warehouse our way out of an overbreeding crisis. We need to fix the problem at the source.
Other communities have adopted this principle and the success is proven in their intake stats. Some even have empty cages. This is what we want for Kingston.
Listen to what this community really needs in terms of animal rescue. It is not a costly building project, however, I’m sure some business would welcome the income derived from such an unsustainable plan. There will be colony caretakers who feed, water, build shelters and trap when there are funds to fix them. They do this 365 days a year because they are devoted to stopping the suffering on our city streets.
Wendy Adlam, Kingston
This content was submitted as a letter to the editor.