No adoptions a cat-astrophe for humane society

FVHS executive director Celia Durst looks over one of the society's charges. The shelter is currently full.

FVHS executive director Celia Durst looks over one of the society's charges. The shelter is currently full.

The Fraser Valley Humane Society (FVHS) shelter is full of cats who need loving homes, but with a slowdown in adoption, cats are being turned away.

Shelter worker Trina Simpson says they have no choice.

A large number of unwanted cats were dropped off in May at the North Railway Avenue site, and with only one adoption in June, the no-kill shelter now houses more than 50 cats.

It’s a far cry from their average of 10 adoptions each month.

Simpson suspects many of the cats have come from people moving to a new apartment where they’re not allowed to keep animals.

“On the one hand I understand, but then what do you do with all the unwanted animals?”

She said she’s never seen such low adoption rates and dire need.

The society’s executive director, Celia Durst, says the shelter is limited by space, but also funding.

Although they receive a grant from the District of Mission, they rely on donors and sponsors.

Last year they were nearly forced to shut down, leaving no local shelter for cats in the district.

Their food is currently donated by pet food maker Royal Canin, which Durst says is one of the reasons they are able to survive each month.

“Without that support we would be in trouble,” she said.

Durst said the influx in cats is due in part because of “kitten season,” which runs from April until about October, but like the rest of mother nature it is late this year because of the poor spring weather.

Many people walk in with boxes of kittens, or leave them on the doorstep overnight.

And because it’s the end of the school year she thinks people are focused more on their holidays than pet adoption. People also move more often in the summer, and those who aren’t allowed animals often leave them behind.

“Cats aren’t valued like dogs are,” said Durst.

A properly looked after cat causes no trouble or mess, but landlords aren’t educated enough, she added.

Durst said cats can make good household pets and companions, especially in downtown Mission where some people live alone with mental health problems, and cats can provide therapeutic benefits.

People who are turned away will sometimes take the felines into remote areas and release them. The B.C. SPCA has a spay and neuter program so that abandoned cats won’t create a larger feral cat population, but Durst said there simply isn’t money for that here.

Simpson said people only need to spend some time with the cats in order to appreciate their charms.

She said one man who was given 40 hours of court-ordered community service at the shelter still comes back every Tuesday and Friday to volunteer.

Adoption of a cat six months and older is $100 and covers the cost of medical exams, vaccinations, spay/neutering, tattoo identification, viral testing and six weeks of trial pet insurance.

The shelter, located at 33103 North Railway Ave., is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday. For more information call 604-820-2977.