Increasingly, stories of abandoned and roaming cats have come to the forefront, and an agency in the province is hoping to do something about the situation. On February 1, 2023, SOS Prairie Rescue launches the first “Beat-the-Heat, A Spay-it Forward” initiative, a pilot project aimed at ensuring everyone, despite income, or circumstance, has the opportunity to offer either their beloved pet or a known neighborhood stray, the gift of a last litter.
In a release, the organization said that Saskatchewan is in a consistent state of stray and unwanted cat overpopulation and due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, shelters and rescue groups across the province have seen an influx in stray animals and are consistently flooded with requests for assistance forcing intake freezes, reduced quality of care, and euthanasia. Everyone should agree that homeless and abandoned pets are a human made problem, it's everyone’s problem.
“It is no secret that cats can populate quickly”, said Gena Messenger, Vice President of SOS Prairie Rescue, “Spaying and neutering is the only way out of this situation and if someone has the ability to “Spay it Forward” they can feel good knowing they’re saving feline lives and making a difference in the rescue world”.
Veterinary clinics across the province have signed on to work with SOS Prairie Rescue since its inception in 2019. Among them is the Humboldt Animal Health Clinic. April Fisher works as a registered vet tech. She explains the relationship and its importance.
“With the spay or neuters, we get an email and a checklist of things to do beforehand to do for them, whether it's deworming or microchipping. We give a discount for services because we believe in their program for spaying or neutering.”
SOS Prairie Rescue is asking for financial assistance in order to ensure the pilot project is a success and can be utilized through all corners of the province. For every $140.00 raised, one reduced price spay/neuter will be offered to an applicant in need. Applications will not be accepted until March 1, 2023 to ensure they can accept applicants according to funds allocated. “We are calling upon levels of government, animal advocacy groups and caring community members, to come together to help promote and provide solutions to a shared goal of eliminating the province of the overpopulation crisis and stray abandoned pet problem. Members of the community are asked to consider opening their homes to an animal in need, either temporarily or forever. Understanding that this is not possible for everyone, monetary and supply donations are desperately needed to keep stray and abandoned animals safe and fed until help arrives.
Spaying or neutering pets is critical, says Fisher. Cat overpopulation and abandonment is an issue that’s been around for a long time, and everyone needs to put in an effort to address it.
“A lot of people have a cat and end up getting another because they think it’s lonely and they don’t spay or neuter them,” Fisher explains. “Then they end up with kittens, and a lot of times, whether they are on a farm or not, kind of just let the kittens roam, and we end up getting a lot here.”
The SPCA has also indicated they are in need of adopters and fosters homes as they are at capacity. Like all animals, cats are particularly vulnerable in harsh winters.
Donations can be made online at www.sosprairierescue.com, via e-transfer (email@example.com) or mail (PO Box 448, Vanscoy, SK S0L 3J0).