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Free to good homes: 500 cats

July 29th, 2005, 12:44 PM
Free to good homes: 500 cats
Last Updated Fri, 29 Jul 2005 13:15:41 EDT
CBC News
The Toronto Humane Society faces the "most desperate crisis" it has seen after being inundated with abandoned cats, a spokesman says.

Earlier this week, workers took in 37 cats from an elderly couple that could no longer look after them.

The rescue pushed the total number of felines at the shelter to more than 500.

"It's the most desperate crisis ever," the society's president, Tim Trow, said on Friday. "As full as we are, we couldn't turn them away.

"Instead, we are calling on members of the community to open their homes and hearts to a cat," Trow said in a statement.

The non-profit group said it will waive its $25 adoption fee from July 29 to Aug. 1 to encourage the public to take home the cats and kittens.

The standard adoption process will apply, the society said.

Each adoption includes updated vaccinations, one month of pet insurance, a microchip identification implant, flea control treatment and a sample bag of cat food.

Many of the animals at the shelter have already been spayed or neutered, the society said.

July 31st, 2005, 08:45 AM

Want a cat? Keep it indoors!
Despite feline crisis, Toronto
Humane Society not relaxing rules


Despite going through its most "most desperate crisis ever" with more than 500 cats on the property looking for a home, the Toronto Humane Society isn't loosening up its adoption policy.

The society, which does not euthanize animals, found itself in a crisis after two recent seizures of 37 and 17 cats.

But potential cat owners who insist on de-clawing their cat or letting it out on the loose will still find themselves walking away empty-handed, leaving behind a building overflowing with homeless cats.

"Sometimes, it's very tough," says shelter manager Vijay Kumar, but "the reason for turning people down is because we have to make sure that the cat is going to a safe place and not going to the wrong home."

The "cat care" section on the society's web site strongly encourages owners to keep their cats indoors.

"At least as important as loving, feeding, neutering and providing proper veterinary care for your cat, is keeping him inside the sanctuary of your home!" reads the notice.

Among reasons for keeping the kitty indoors: being hit by a car, picking up a disease, and being attacked by a dog or a raccoon.

Despite the humane society's tough reputation, and a rejection rate Kumar estimated to be about 9 per cent to 10 per cent, more than 125 cats were adopted yesterday. No potential cat owners were refused.

All those seeking to adopt are given a form to fill out and undergo an interview during which they're asked, among other things, if they plan to declaw the animal and if it will be allowed to go outside.

A "yes"can shut the door to adopting a pet almost.

"If you came and said, `I live out on Yonge Street and I'm going to let my cat out,' we wouldn't adopt you a cat, absolutely," said the society's volunteer president, Tim Trow. "It's not right. The bylaws prohibit it.

"You're meant to keep your cat on your own property."

But there's still hope if the reply is based on ignorance.

"If you said, `Oh, I didn't realize that but sure, I'll keep her in,' sure, of course (you can adopt the cat)," said Trow.

"You don't see a lot of unhappy people walking away empty-handed," he said.

Most people who come want to be good pet owners, said Trow, adding, "People want to learn how to care for their pet."

There's no uniform policy on free-roaming felines in other Canadian cities.

"I know a lot of humane societies struggle with it. Some still say no," said Bruce Roney, executive director of the Ottawa Humane Society. "We try to go beyond the black-and-white of indoor versus outdoor. If someone lives in a central city core, busy street, we will not adopt to them if they're planning to let the cat outdoors. Suburban cats we'll reluctantly do adoptions," if they're going outside.

Calgary has a bylaw against cats roaming free, but its Humane Society won't slam the door on somebody wanting to let a cat out.

"In some communities I'm told the neighbours are all fine with the cats being outside," said Cathy Thomas, executive director of the Calgary Humane Society.

Thomas said that if a potential cat owner can make the case for the safety and openness of his neighbourhood, then, "I can live with that but it's not ideal."

But is it in a cat's nature to roam free?

Pamela Jamieson of the Hamilton/Burlington Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rejects the idea that it's cruel to keep a cat indoors its whole life.

"In an ideal old world, a cat could live outside. The old tomcat could live to 13," said Jamieson. "Times have changed. The life expectancy of an outdoor cat is two to three years." She contrasts that with the longevity of indoor cats, "anywhere from 15 to 20 years."

The movement to keep cats indoors isn't just about keeping cats healthy, Jamieson said. The more cats breed, the more litters end up homeless, and possibly killed in animal shelters.

At Toronto's humane society, many cats are housed in the hallways, offices and the loading bay.

The animal shelter at the corner of River St. and Queen St. was a busy destination yesterday as a stream of Torontonians heeded the society's call and welcomed cats into their homes.

As an incentive, it has waived a $25 adoption fee until Monday and hopes to give away at least 250 to 300 cats by then.

July 31st, 2005, 09:29 AM
Nothing like giving people the correct answers......why would you have to refuse any adoptions then? :mad:

July 31st, 2005, 09:34 AM
No doubt alot of these freeby kitties will be back there in a few months- Along with their offspring .