The “Community Cat Count” will help the SPCA understand where to focus its resources
The BC SPCA is asking Richmond residents to help them keep an eye on the city’s feral and homeless cats.
The organization is currently running a “community cat census” in Richmond, the aim of which is to gather information about the number of feral cat colonies – a group of two or more cats living together – in the city.
Hopefully, by submitting information through the SPCA’s online form, Richmondites will help create a map of the city’s community cat population over the next few months, said Marieke van der Velden, outreach specialist at BC SPCA.
The SPCA took over the city of Richmond’s animal control contract earlier this year after the city’s 13-year contract with the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) expired on January 31.
“Having an idea of the community cat situation will help us understand whether this is an area where we should focus our resources and, if so, how best to prioritize cat colonies,” said van der Velden.
The new cat counting initiative got off to a gentle start a few weeks ago and is also underway in Powell River.
There are a number of community cats in Richmond based on reports from stakeholders and community members, van der Velden said. However, the SPCA does not know how many or where they are.
Once the organization knows where the cats are, the goal is to “capture, neuter” them.
“This is the best result for community cats,” said van der Velden. “If there are kittens, they can be socialized and adopted.”
According to the SPCA, bringing an adult wildcat into your home can be quite stressful for them.
The SPCA will work with community members to come up with a plan once cats are brought back, van der Velden said, although ideally they already have people looking after them by making sure food and water is available and monitoring their health becomes.
There is no set end date for the program as new cat colonies could emerge over time, van der Velden said.