© 2022 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Binational

Feral felines causing a 'cat-astrophe' in Ontario

spca_cats.jpg
File photo
/

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.

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.