Feral felines causing a 'cat-astrophe' in Ontario

Jul 28, 2016

A southern Ontario county near the north shore of Lake Erie has an unusual problem and it's causing divisions among advocates for animal rights. As WBFO Canada correspondent Dan Karpenchuk reports, many are calling it a "cat-astrophe."

Kittens and cats—furry, cuddly and, for many people, the ideal pet.

The Ontario SPCA says the way to manage feral cat populations is to trap them, have them spayed or neutered and release them back into wild.
Credit File photo

But in Norfolk County, Ontario, they have become a problem. There are an estimated 30,000 of them, mostly feral, and they're taking over. Despite an SOS and an offer of $50,000 in cash, no one has come forward yet with a viable cat control program.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the only economically viable and humane way to manage feral populations is to trap them, then have them spayed or neutered and released back into wild.

Cathy Hosken of the local humane society supports that plan but says it costs a lot of money.
"I'm looking at one farm in particular where over the last six or seven years, we have been helping, where he had a huge boom with old barns taken down in the area. He ended up with over 100 cats congregating at his place, so we stepped in and we helped. I think the numbers are stabilizing but it's still way too many for non-profit and volunteer groups to look after on donated dollars," said Hosken.
Some people in the area have gone so far as to call for a cull of the cat population. They say the huge numbers of cats are having an impact on the hundreds of species of migratory birds that stop over in the region.
So far, a solution to the cats remains elusive. The only submission put forward was disqualified on a technicality, and the county has yet to announce a new request for proposals.