Too many tiny kittens

Chelsea Powrie

It's not easy being an animal sanctuary, especially when the need is overwhelming and they don't always have the resources to help. 

Jess Byer, animal director at Critteraid Animal Sanctuary, is dealing with a huge influx of surrendered and stray cats right now, and wants to ask the public for patience if they call her for help and she isn't immediately available. 

"We love to be a support for our community when situations come up where people can't keep their animals," Byer said. "But we'd really like to get the word out that when we say 'no,' it's not because we want to, it's because we have to."

The sanctuary is currently home to 40 long-term resident cats that aren't suitable for adoption and will need care for their whole lives. That's on top of the dozens of other cats that the shelter cares for who will become adoptable, a population that's growing every day. 

"A big thing is there's a lot of free kittens and unfortunately a lot of street kittens in Penticton and the Okanagan," Byer said. "We've had three girls in the last few weeks come in barely five months old and they've all been pregnant."

Sadly, young cats that get pregnant often aren't old enough themselves to know how to care for their litter, leading to abandoned, neglected or injured kittens that Critteraid takes in. Byer said the easy solution is spaying and neutering, and being a responsible pet owner. 

"Before you get any pet and bring a pet into a home, do your research, talk to the vets, make sure you understand the cost that goes into spaying and neutering and vaccines," Byer said. "Make sure that your pet is your responsibility and not causing more damage to the already huge cat population."

To support Critteraid, a non-profit organization, click here

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