What do Taylor Swift and the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) have in common? Well, they both celebrated International Cat Day on Mon. Aug. 8.
Taylor with an Instagram post, and the WHS by removing the middle partition in almost half of their cat cages. As space permits, they will keep doing this until all shelter cats are living in the larger cages. This will give them double the living space to explore and play in.
This is huge because cats often get stressed being caged up on the same floor with many others. Unlike dogs, they aren’t pack animals. For that reason, the WHS tries to ensure cats spend no more than two weeks at the shelter. (Except Snookie – more about her later).
As a voluntary participant in The Million Cat Challenge, a shelter based program that aims to save the lives of 1000,000 cats across North America by 2019, the Winnipeg Humane Society has pledged to improve the quality of life of all cats in the shelter. You can see which other shelters are participating on the interactive map on their website.
Maureen Lamoureux, long term resident of the West End, loves cats. She has a hard time walking past hungry, disheveled and uncared for cats in her neighbourhood without wanting to take them in.
The house next to her recently had the Humane Society come out and pick up two strays. All too common a problem in the West End but what can be done? And are they all strays?
Because they want to keep cats from ever entering the shelter system, the Winnipeg Humane Society has made it easier for people to adopt a stray and also to search for its owner.
You can now apply to foster the cat through the Humane Society who will provide you with food, litter and supplies for two weeks. In the meantime, they will keep looking for the owner.
If they don’t reunite the cat with an owner in that time, you can adopt it for a $79 fee which covers tests, shots, spaying and licensing. If the cat has already been spayed/neutered the fee is lowered to $40.
WHS are also looking for people to foster cats with upper respiratory infections (URIs). This frees up space in the shelter for other sick cats and gives them a better quality of life while keeping them away from the healthy cats.
A URI is essentially a contagious cold. The cats need antibiotics and time to heal; and once they are well they still have to be kept away from the other cats. The ideal foster home is one with no other cat or one with a cat that has already had URI.
I have had some experience fostering kittens for a Humane Society. I had my cat Frunk for 11 years and still miss him. He was a foster cat that I fell in love with. (It happens a lot).
344 cats were adopted from the WHS shelter in July through all types of adoption including the Care To Adopt program. Of these, 178 were cats and 166 were kittens.
The popular Care To Adopt program reduces the adoption fees to $20 for cats, including testing, shots, spay or neutering and licensing. Kittens are $100 to adopt (or $179 for two) and include all the same benefits.
There’s no charge to adopt cats who have been exposed to URI and other feline diseases.
This special pricing has been extended through August 31st.
As of 3 p.m. Sun. Aug. 14, there were 36 cats on the adoption floor waiting for new homes. This doesn’t count those in the back and those at satellite locations. Yes, you can now adopt Humane Society cats at Best West Pet Food, Pet Value, Pet Smart and Pet Land locations. You can fill out the Humane Society’s online adoption form while at the pet store.
My cat Frunk died five years ago and I swore I’d never get another cat as I didn’t think another cat would ever be the same. Cats always seem to come into my life.
In November 2014, my roommate found a stray cat under his house. She was hiding in the foot high space under the addition where a number of cats had been hiding. We couldn’t let her in as we already had a very territorial cat.
We religiously left food and water out and got a huge surprise about a week later when she gave birth to two kittens. They were born under the house and one kitten died of exposure though we tried to revive it.
I kept the mom and kitten together with me for three months so the kitten would have a better quality of life. When I couldn’t keep them any longer I gave them to a farm outside the city. I was a little naïve as barn cats don’t always have an ideal life. Often they’re not spayed /neutered and don’t get vet care.
A better idea is the WHS Barn Buddies program which provides cats that are considered un-adoptable due to behavior issues to farms outside the city. They have all had their health checks, shots and are spayed/neutered. There is a $40 suggested donation and the farms have to meet certain criteria including getting them vet care if needed. The cats may have issues but are approachable and able to be handled.
Snookie was the “Good News” story of the month at the shelter. She was adopted after being in the shelter for more than three months and the shelter staff, volunteers and visitors were delighted when she recently found her forever home.
You can read many more stories about the animals at the shelter on the WHS Facebook page.