Rescuing and adopting cats in Hamilton


More than 50 felines saved by a whisker

SPCA clearance sale helps ease cat crisis — at least for now

Hamilton's stray cat crisis is a little more manageable now that discounted adoption fees have led to new homes for most of the SPCA's feline guests.

As of Thursday, more than 50 cats and kittens had been adopted after staff spent the previous few days scrambling to find them homes in order to make room for more.

Only about five cats are still waiting.

A special discounted rate was offered this week with hopes of enticing more people to adopt cats and kittens since the not-for-profit organization is overflowing with feline tenants.

"Being a no-kill shelter means cats don't come in unless there is room," said Marion Emo, president and CEO of the SPCA. "And cats only leave us by being adopted and going to their forever home."

Hamilton's city-run Animal Control shelter has scheduled a euthanization day on Friday. Adoptions at rescue groups are crucial to decreasing the number of cats put down because adoptions create space to take in cats from Animal Control.

Last year, 3,919 cats came into the city's shelter and 1,782 were euthanized. This year, 409 have been euthanized.

The discounted fees, available until Friday at 7 p.m., are getting the public's attention. However, commenters on social media and on the SPCA's website are questioning the costs altogether.

The regular price to adopt is $195 for a kitten and $175 for a cat. During this week's promotion, the SPCA knocked $100 off those rates.

Julia Wright, a cat-care specialist and offsite adoption co-ordinator for the SPCA, says the prices barely cover everything that's needed before a cat can leave the shelter. This includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccines, flea treatments and microchipping.

She said some of the animals also need extra care such as dental work, amputations, eye removals and heartworm treatments.

"By having those fees, it allows us to go above and beyond for a lot of animals that wouldn't get the chance with other rescues," Wright said

Outside the warmer months, or what Wright calls kitten season, she says the SPCA does well with the regular fees it charges.

Gail McGinnis runs the Kit Cat Club rescue group based in Hamilton and her adoption fees are slightly cheaper — $175 for a kitten and $150 for cats.

That's the basic cost, she says, but they also take in sick cats off the street that need further treatment.

She's definitely feeling the effects of the city's cat problem and says the rescue group is at capacity with just over 100 cats in various foster homes.

"I get calls two to three times a day still and we are just overwhelmed. We can hardly feed them, let alone take any more," said McGinnis.

Both rescue organizations agree that picking up a free cat from Kijiji or a personal ad is risky business because there's no telling what a prospective pet owner might get.

With the SPCA, there is full disclosure with a complete history of treatment and any behavioural issues as well as a personality assessment.