Pictou County’s feral cats are getting a lot of help from CARMA.
“We have spayed and neutered 1050 cats in Pictou County,” says Helen Baudoux, chairperson with the Pictou chapter of Cat-Rescue Maritimes, a registered charity whose goal is to curb the county’s cat population through their trap, neuter, release program. “Approximately two years ago, we stopped getting calls about cats having unwanted births.”
On Saturday November 17, CARMA hosted a luncheon at the New Horizons Clubhouse in the town of Pictou. Volunteers were busy in the kitchen preparing beef and barley soup, corn chowder, and sandwiches for everyone coming out to show their support for the group which also looks after the many cats living in colonies throughout the county.
“It’s sad to see them out when it’s cold. No human being would want to be,” said Eileen Enfield sitting at a table with an empty plate and bowl in front of her. Next to Enfield, Richard MacDonald added that “there’s a responsibility to owning a cat, it’s not like their disposable.”
The feral cat problem in the town of Pictou and surrounding county has been well documented, with the SPCA reporting the highest numbers coming from the water-front town.
“We have quite a few colonies around the waterfront,” said Baudoux.
“The cats are in this situation because of us,” she said. “90 per-cent of the time these are cats that were previously owned and then abandoned, or who got out and were never found.”
Considering that a female cat can have up to three litters of kittens every year, with sometimes 15 kittens per-litter, it’s easy to see how this problem can get out of hand. At that rate, and if those 1050 spayed and neutered cats were left alone, Pictou County could have been hosting 105,000 feral cats.
So, keeping the cat colonies from making kitties is the best way to control the population.
In 2017, the cost to feed the homeless cats in Pictou was $3,837. Much of CARMA’s funding comes from fundraisers like Saturday’s luncheon, but they have also received support from the Town of Pictou.
Aside from trap, spay and release, CARMA’s activity also involves a lot of public education.
“We do information sessions, and we’re hoping to be able to do some more at a future date,” said Baudoux, sporting her red CARMA apron. “And around winter carnival we’re hoping to have a spayghetti dinner.”