The BC SPCA Spay and Neuter Clinic in Kamloops was buzzing with activity on Friday as nearly two dozen feral cats arrived to receive surgeries, vaccinations and other types of care.
The bi-annual feral cat spay and neuter day involved BC SPCA staff and doctors, as well as instructors and second year students from Thompson Rivers University’s animal health technology program.
Lyndsay Stewart, veterinary assistant with the BC SPCA Kamloops Spay and Neuter Clinic, said 22 cats were brought in, largely by rescue groups who work with feral colonies in Kamloops and and Merritt, to receive care on Friday.
“We’re having feral cats from the Kamloops area and surrounding communities come in to be spayed, neutered, vaccinated and treated for parasites in order to help bring some of the population down of the feral colonies in Kamloops,” Stewart said.
Stewart said Kamloops has a large feral cat population, with multiple colonies throughout the city as well as in surrounding communities, including Chase and the Lower Nicola areas.
“Last year alone, over 400 cats came into the SPCA shelter for surrendering and strays. So it's a very large population of ferals,” she said.
According to the BC SPCA, cats can multiply quickly, with female cats able to produce multiple litters of kittens per year.
“And that's just a female. Males can impregnate many, many females, even more so than a female can deliver in a year,” Stewart said.
“You can have a female cat deliver up to three litters, and anywhere from one to eight in a litter. That's a lot of cats going out into the world that don't have homes, that are just living out a feral life and not able to be handled or cared for by humans.”
Stewart said this is why these spay and neuter clinics are so important.
“They get injured, they are victims of predation, victims of humans wanting to get rid of the feral cats, vehicles, and stuff like that. If we can keep that population down, it's a lot less risk for the animals.”
Stewart said once cats recover from their surgeries, they are taken back to the areas they came from — able to live out their lives without making more kittens.
The bi-annual event will return again in October, but in the meantime, BC SPCA is able to help caretakers of feral cat colonies or low-income residents who need to spay or neuter their pets. Anyone interested in finding out more information can contact BC SPCA.