'It's overflowing with cats': Animal control centre halts cat admissions
Centre is at 137 per cent of their cat capacity
Edmonton's Animal Care and Control Centre is overcapacity and will stop admitting healthy adults cats for one week starting on Friday.
The city-run facility had 115 cats on Wednesday, and has capacity for only 84, a city spokesperson said.
"There's no more room, and it's overflowing with cats at the moment," said Mike Jenkins, acting director of animal care and control. "It's becoming a quality of care issue."
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The city said the temporary measure will give the centre time to transfer animals to partner agencies, such as the Edmonton Humane Society next door. Injured or sick cats, and kittens, can still be brought to the animal control centre.
The centre holds stray or lost cats until owners are able to retrieve them. Animals without identification are held for three days before they're transferred to partner agencies.
The centre takes in more than 4,000 cats a year. Only about 16 per cent — roughly 640 cats a year— are returned to their owners.
To help ease overcapacity pressures and limit the spread of disease, the facility will pilot a trap-neuter-return program later this summer. The humane society had a similar program two years ago, where feral cats are trapped, neutered by staff and returned to their original locations.
To help ease the problem, the humane society will waive the adoption fees for cats and kittens until the end of the month. The adoption fees are $270 for kittens and $165 for adult cats.
"The spring and summer months are always the busiest time for our shelter and partner agencies such as Animal Care and Control and local rescues," said humane society CEO Miranda Jordan-Smith.
Freeing up space through increased adoptions would allow the humane society to take more transferred cats.
"The same capacity issues are faced by shelters each year, and one of the primary reasons is cat overpopulation," said Jordan-Smith.
The wait list for owner surrender appointments at the humane society, where owners can give up their pets, is currently at 116 cats and getting longer.
The city plans to reopen the centre to healthy adult cats after the week-long interruption.