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Solution to Cat Overpopulation in Canada: Adoption

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cat on play towerA recent study discovered that fewer than half of the cats who arrive at Canadian shelters get adopted out. This is just one of the key findings in the report “Cats in Canada,” published by The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS).

To learn about cat overpopulation in Canada, CFHS collected opinions from nearly 500 shelters and rescue groups, veterinarians, government organizations and spay/neuter groups. Across the board, respondents agreed that adoption is the easiest, most successful solution.

Odds are against cats in shelters

Canadian shelters are jammed with cats, and every day more arrive at their doors. Shelters receive twice as many cats as dogs. In 2011, organizations that participated in the survey took in more than 150,000 cats.

Adding to the problem: cats are less likely to be reunited with their families than dogs are. And generally, a cat’s stay in a shelter is longer than a dog’s, because it takes longer for cats to be adopted.

Since cats stay in shelters longer, they’re more likely to get sick. Shelters also need to free up space to take in new pets. Long stays and illness often lead to euthanasia for cats. In 2011, responding organizations euthanized almost 6 times as many cats as dogs.

Adoption is the most available solution

Overpopulation, crowded shelters and cat euthanasia — these are problems we can help solve, together.

The CFHS survey found that adoption is the most readily available solution to the cat overpopulation problem. Most respondents thought that adoption was a successful option, too.

Canadians certainly love cats

CFHS learned that 1 in 3 Canadians ­— more than a third of households — has a cat. That’s a big win, considering that in the U.S., 35% of respondents in a 2012 American Humane Association study said they “don’t like cats.” Canadian cats already have a good reputation.

While people in Canada don’t need much convincing about how lovable cats are, cats do need help getting the word out about the fight for their lives in shelters. The CFHS study found that Canadians are more likely to acquire a cat from a friend or relative or from their own pet’s litter, or take in a stray instead of adopting from an adoption organization.

Girl petting catPetSmart Charities® of Canada is working to solve the problem

The report emphasizes the importance of a range of adoption strategies to increase the number of cat adoptions. That point hits close to home for PetSmart Charities® of Canada.

We are a leader in pet adoptions. Together with our animal welfare partners, PetSmart Charities of Canada finds homes for more than 14,000 cats and dogs each year.

Through our relationships with our adoption partners, we address overpopulation at the community level, all across the country. No other charity is able to save as many lives as we do, because of our reach and collaborative approach.

Saving pets’ lives through adoption

  • Everyday Cat Adoption Centres: In more than 80 PetSmart® stores across Canada, you can find your purr-fect forever friend every day. Right from the beginning, PetSmart pioneered the first adoptions in retail stores in 1994. PetSmart donates in-store adoption space to PetSmart Charities of Canada, offering chances for pet lovers to meet adoptable cats.
  • Community Adoption Events: At any time during the year, adoption organizations can receive a grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada to help run an adoption event in their community. Whether in a PetSmart store or off-site, an adoption event is a great way to help find forever homes for adoptable pets.
  • National Adoption Weekends: 4 times a year, PetSmart Charities of Canada holds national adoption events across the entire country to showcase adoptable pets. These simultaneous events save the lives of nearly 1,000 cats and dogs every year. 

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