2011 - The Year of the Cat

Vol. 15, Issue 4, The Leduc-Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

A few cat stats, thanks to www.channelcanada.com:

  • There are more than 50 million homeless cats in North America.
  •  Bird groups estimate cats kill a billion birds every year.
  • Two cats can produce an unbelievable 420,000 kittens in seven years.

In towns of all sizes across Canada, thousands and thousands of abandoned or feral cats roam the streets.  Neither spayed nor neutered, the feline population has become rampant.  Animal shelters everywhere have become overburdened - every years tens of thousands of healthy kittens and cats are euthanized because there are no homes for them.

In 2006, at the first Banff Summit for Urban Animal Strategies (BSUAS), delegates agreed that reliable, current data and statistics on pets and domestic animals were lacking.  With the goal of creating and sustaining a healthy community for pets and people, BSUAS delegates and other animal-related businesses partnered with Ipsos Reid.  The world-renowned polling firm carried out an extensive national survey with over 7,000 participants, the results of which were presented at the BSUAS meeting in the fall of 2008.

Extrapolated to reflect the true population, the Ipsos Reid survey found that over half (56%) of Canadian households have at least one dog or cat.

Ninety percent of cat owners do not currently have any kind of permanent identification such as a tattoo or microchip on their cats and were 'unlikely' to request this service in the next twelve months.  Only 2% of cat owners and 4% of dog owners had pet insurance, and less than 24% of cats are purchased from reputable sources, the survey showed.

The study noted with interest that "the numbers clearly indicate cats are not always valued as much as dogs," said Ipsos Reid associate vice-president, David Webb.   "In almost all categories covered by this survey, dogs receive better care than cats."  (For the full report, go to website www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2603652). A 2008 Urban Animals Survey showed that, as a rule, between cats and dogs, cats are the underdogs.  Pet owners in general seem to take better care of their dogs than their cats.

Dr. Elizabeth O'Brien, one of only four Board Certified Feline Specialists, was a featured speaker at the 2009 Summits for Urban Animal Strategies.  Dr. O'Brien's presentation showcased a successful education campaign created by the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA, called Year of the Cat.  The campaign seeks to raise the social status and awareness of the value of cats.

2011 has been designated Year of the Cat in Canada by Care for Cats, a long term project aimed at encouraging community collaboration across the country in dealing with cat overpopulation, encouraging an appreciation for the role cats play in our society, and promote the importance of proper cat care.

 
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