Update: Unprecedented intake of cats and kittens from property in Houston B.C. enters second phase - BC SPCA
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Update: Unprecedented intake of cats and kittens from property in Houston B.C. enters second phase

April 8, 2024

The second phase of the intake process of more than 200 cats from a Houston property has begun. An empty warehouse in Prince George has been transformed into a fully operational animal triage centre to support approximately 117 additional cats and kittens that BC SPCA’s animal protection and animal care team members have brought from the property. This is in addition to more than 150 cats and kittens already taken into the BC SPCA’s care from the property.

“It took some time to get all of the necessary supplies together for this triage centre,” says Adrienne McBride, the BC SPCA’s senior director, community animal centres. “We needed hundreds of cat litter trays and hundreds of wire crates to keep the cats separate from one another.”

The massive scale of this intake is obvious when you look at the number of BC SPCA staff that have come from centres across the province to support the care of these animals. “Staff have travelled from as far as Vancouver Island to Prince George to prepare for and support the intake of these cats. It has been a huge operation,” explains McBride. “It was important to have the cats and kittens assessed as quickly as possible so those needing medical care could begin their treatments promptly and the healthy cats could be transferred to centres to begin their adoption journeys . It’s definitely an ‘all hands-on deck’ type of situation, we’ve had teams working around the clock on this.”

The BC SPCA continues to support the animals’ owner as there are still a number of cats on the property, despite more than 250 animals already being removed already. The remaining cats are more fearful and will be more challenging to bring into care but the BC SPCA is working with the owner to determine the best next steps.

Some of the cats who were rescued in the initial intake are now available for adoption, pending their individual spay and neuter surgeries, at BC SPCA animal centres across the province. Anyone who is interested in adding a new feline member to their family is encouraged to visit adopt.spca.bc.ca to set up adoption alerts for cats at nearby BC SPCA centres.

Intake process of more than 200 cats and kittens from single property begins with most vulnerable animals

Original story March 28. 2024

The BC SPCA has begun the first phase of their intake of more than 200 cats and kittens from a single home in Houston, B.C. More than 150 cats including moms and their kittens identified as needing urgent medical care have been removed from the home, assessed, examined for identification and brought to foster homes or BC SPCA animal centres. The BC SPCA has provided food, supplies, and litter to help support the remaining animals’ needs.

“The intake of this large number of cats requires a multi-phase approach,” says Eileen Drever, senior officer, protection and stakeholder relations for the BC SPCA. “We will begin bringing in the remaining cats to the triage centre for assessment beginning sometime next week once we have all of the necessary supplies in place.”

Kim Monteith, the BC SPCA’s manager of animal welfare, is on site and will be overseeing the care of the cats and assessing them for any behavioural issues. “The socialization window for cats is three to seven weeks,” says Monteith. “It is so important to provide kittens with good experiences during this time and to introduce them to handling, different people, as well as other animals and objects.”

She adds that many of the older cats missed that socialization period. “Strangers are scary, living indoors with sounds like the TV, vacuum, and other things will also be scary for them. This is where our work begins. We get them physically healthy and at the same time help them to learn to trust people.”

Costs for the care of the cats are still being assessed. The cats are expected to be in the BC SPCA’s care for a minimum of 30 days and longer for new-born kittens.

“We really want to thank the volunteer fosters who stepped up to help us care for these cats and kittens,” says Drever. “Not to mention the many businesses in Prince George who have offered their assistance.”

Unparalleled intake of more than 200 cats and kittens from single property expected to drain BC SPCA resources

Original story March 22. 2024

The BC SPCA is preparing to take more than 200 cats and kittens into its care from a single home in Houston, B.C. Despite the Society’s extensive experience and unique position within the province to be able to support large animal intakes, one of this size and nature is exceptional and will draw extensively on all the organization’s resources to care for these animals in need.

“There is so much coordination and resource allocation that goes into caring for a number of cats this significant, especially given that many of them are very young kittens,” explains Eileen Drever, senior officer, protection and stakeholder relations for the BC SPCA. “The last time I remember us involved in a single intake of kittens this large was back in the late 1990s.”

Drever explains that the BC SPCA is still working to understand the full scope of the situation but received a request for assistance from the animals’ current guardian through the Animal Helpline. “What we understand right now from the owner is that people started dumping ‘stray’ cats in his yard several years ago, but he has since become completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of them, especially considering most of the kittens and their moms are living inside the home.”

The BC SPCA has already visited the property with food, supplies, and litter to help support the animals’ needs while coordination efforts are underway to bring the cats and kittens into the Society’s care.

“When we initially attended, our teams were quite surprised to see how well the animals have been taken care of, all things considered, but without a quick intervention the chance of their welfare suffering is very high. The cats mostly appear to be in good shape and seem quite social.”

Although the animals appear to be healthy, they will still require a considerable amount of veterinary care to ensure each animal receives appropriate assessments, vaccinations, a spay or neuter surgery, and tailored medical treatment as required. This is in addition to the cost of supplies, transportation for the animals and the staffing needs to oversee the intake through to the animals’ eventual adoptions. The BC SPCA is currently exploring the possibility of renting a large indoor space as a temporary measure to house the animals until they can be safely transported to BC SPCA animal centres across the province.