The BC SPCA provided grant funding to spay and neuter more than 40 community cats living in the northern B.C. First Nations community of Kitsumkalum. Now, the BC SPCA Community Animal Spay/Neuter Grant program is accepting applications for 2020 for groups ready to address cat overpopulation in communities across B.C.
“In the last year the grant program helped address cat overpopulation across the province, especially touching remote rural areas,” says Marieke van der Velden, outreach specialist at the BC SPCA. “We are seeing grantees partner with First Nation communities to address free-roaming and feral cats, and increase access to veterinary services.”
Kitsumkalum Band Council, located just outside of Terrace in northern B.C., conducted a community survey on free-roaming feral cats and owned cats who were not spayed or neutered. They were surprised by the community response, receiving more reports of cats than expected. As a result, they partnered with Northern Animal Rescue Alliance (NARA), who brought on veterinary partners and applied for BC SPCA grant funding.
“Last week we fixed the last 16 free-roaming feral cats in the community,” reports Pip Crosby from NARA. “Saturday was a long day, we got there before 7 a.m. and the first client was already waiting!”
In 2020 the program will continue to target and help community cats across British Columbia. The program supports non-profit community organizations, veterinarians, First Nation communities and regional and municipal governments working to address pet overpopulation in their local areas.
This year, priority will be given to projects in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Cariboo Regional District and Central Coast Regional District. The BC SPCA has identified these communities as in need of intervention to address the number of unwanted cats.
“While the same application criteria apply, we especially encourage applicants in these areas to submit a funding request to help get these communities the help they need,” explains van der Velden.
Funding will be distributed to projects that better the welfare of a community’s most vulnerable companion animals and ensure there is a long-term impact.