Set­ting the record straight on cats


Dear edi­tor,

I am writ­ing on be­half of the Bac­calieu Trail SPCA in re­sponse to some neg­a­tive feed­back to the ar­ti­cle on the front page of the March 29th edi­tion of The Com­pass head­lined “ Pro­posed shel­ter get­ting cold shoul­der.”

First of all, let me state that trap­ping is done when a per­son calls in for our help to trap cats on their prop­erty. We do not trap cats with­out that call. We will not put traps on some­one’s prop­erty with­out prior per­mis­sion to do so. These cats are han­dled with the ut­most care when be­ing trans­ported.

Some in­di­vid­u­als have taken the term STRAY and FERAL and used them in­ter­change­ably. This is not true. These are two com­pletely dif­fer­ent types of cats. By us­ing the terms in­ter­change­ably they por­trayed the so­ci­ety as eu­th­a­niz­ing all cats that come into our care. Not true at all.

First of all, let me de­fine what feral means. Feral is a cat who has never had hu­man con­tact and will flight when ap­proached or face you in a ag­gres­sive manor. They are no longer do­mes­ti­cated and have be­come wild. They will come to the hand that feeds them but for the most part even they can­not get close to pick them up.

I had a dis­cus­sion on the is­sue with an el­derly lady of Fresh­wa­ter who feeds a feral cat on her back door and re­cently tried to touch him/her and got a ter­ri­ble scratch when he de­cided to re­act. She was sur­prised and will not try that again. I tell peo­ple who feed these cats to be care­ful when do­ing so be­cause in turn a cat bite can lead to a ter­ri­ble in­fec­tion.

We have also learned that they will at­tack your house­hold dogs when hun­gry. A lady that we re­cently helped catch feral cats from her prop­erty let her Shi Tzu out and the cat at­tacked the dog, scratch­ing its eye. This was her last straw and she was grate­ful to us for help­ing her.

The term stray is a cat that at one time had a home and a lov­ing touch but was thrown off or lost for var­i­ous rea­sons. These cats for the most part will come to you when ap­proached, and can be han­dled by hu­mans with­out the use of a trap. Some­times they are scared but with a lit­tle co­er­cion will let you ap­proach them.

The SPCA then takes these cats to have an exam by a vet and if all goes well, they are avail­able for adop­tion. There is a time­frame when some of these cats will need to be put down and it is a sad time for shel­ter staff when that time comes. A lot of the cats taken by the SPCA do find great homes and have a happy end­ing but com­mon sense has to be used when hous­ing these an­i­mals.

In two months the St. Johns SPCA took in up­wards to 400 cats. Not ev­ery­one re­al­izes how many are ac­tu­ally out there but those num­bers are huge so again com­mon sense has to come into play.

Where can you house 400 cats? These sta­tis­tics are not based on adopt­able stray or sur­ren­dered cats. They are based on all types: sur­ren­dered, stray, aban­doned, and feral. These sta­tis­tics also in­clude cats that were in­jured, sick or dis­eased.

Our group be­long­ing to the Bac­calieu Trail SPCA are not a formed shel­ter as of yet, and do not ac­cept strays into our care at Happy Tails. We are help­ing the St. Johns SPCA wher­ever we can and learn­ing the proper han­dling of an­i­mals when res­cu­ing dogs and cats. We look out for the best in­ter­est of the an­i­mals and that’s what it is all about.

There are a lot of other groups out there tak­ing dif­fer­ent ap­proaches, which is great. I ap­plaud any­one want­ing to help these an­i­mals. Our group of mem­bers have cho­sen the SPCA be­cause it is what we be­lieve in and what we are proud to rep­re­sent. If you, the pub­lic, have any con­cerns or ques­tions, please do not hes­i­tate to drop us an e-mail at: bt­spca@hot­ Laura-Lee His­cock


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