The Chilliwack SPCA is one of 10 B.C. shelters, humane societies and animal hospitals that received a BC SPCA Community Animal Spay/Neuter grant. (Submitted)

Chilliwack SPCA receives grant to help control feral cat populations

The local SPCA branch was one of 10 animal welfare groups who received grants this week

Dozens of feral cats in Chilliwack will not be able to reproduce thanks to a grant from the BC SPCA.

The BC SPCA’s Chilliwack branch was one of 10 shelters, humane societies and animal hospitals which received a BC SPCA Community Animal Spay/Neuter grant this week.

All of the funds go directly towards covering the cost of spay/neuter surgeries and permanent pet identification, helping groups address both community cat colonies and cats living on First Nations land. The program is currently in its eighth year and has sterilized nearly 5,000 animals to date.

Chilliwack branch manager Chloé MacBeth is hoping the $1,880 they received will help in a big way.

The money will go towards spaying and neutering approximately 36 feral cats in five different colonies in Chilliwack. They work closely with members of the community who have agreed to monitor and feed the feral cats.

“We’ve got to have money to do it, but we also have to have community support,” MacBeth said. “The volunteers are absolutely vital. We could not do it without them – we are here to support their efforts.”

Last year the Chilliwack branch did 198 TNRs (trap-neuter-release) on feral cats. They also received a grant of $1,150 in 2019 which helped spay and neuter 22 cats. That TNR number is up substantially from the previous two years where they did 23 TNRs in 2017 and 28 in 2018.

“Being able to apply for grants and work with caretakers, we’re able to really ramp stuff up,” MacBeth said. “The research has shown than TNR is the most humane and effective means of population control in cat colonies.”

READ MORE: Money getting tight for Chilliwack’s volunteer feral cat rescuers

The other nine groups which received the BC SPCA Community Animal Spay/Neuter grant are: BC SPCA Quesnel Branch, Canadian Animal Assistance Team (Bella Coola), Campbell River Partners in Animal Welfare (Alert Bay), CATS Meow Society (Port Hardy), Fraser Valley Humane Society (Mission), Haida Gwaii Animal Hospital, Kitty Cat Pals (Comox), Lakes Animal Friendship Society (Burns Lake), and Quadra Feral Cat Group.

“Remote areas of British Columbia, such as North Island, the Chilcotin region and the Northern Interior are benefiting from our grant program this year,” says Marieke van der Velden, outreach specialist at the BC SPCA. “These are areas that struggle with access to vet care, so we are excited to be able to support groups who provide access to these resources.”

“Cat overpopulation is a provincewide issue, but it takes small community-level efforts to see long-term success,” van der Velden said.

RELATED: Hoarding cats often a mental health issue: Chilliwack SPCA


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