What is the Halifax's stray and feral cat situation like right now?
HRM's stray and feral cat situation is definitely a problem—in terms of numbers of cats living and breeding outside, and also in terms of this issue being constantly ignored by municipal and provincial government. I started my rescue seven years ago, but have been dealing with strays and ferals for 25 years, and the numbers have not gone down. Strays and ferals are everywhere in Halifax: in people's backyards, business parks, behind stores and shopping malls and the prime spots—around apartment buildings and mobile home parks. It's endless.
How can Haligonians help?
In order to help more strays and ferals, TAPA is always looking for fundraising ideas. If there is anyone out there that can help in any way, we would love to hear from them. One hundred percent of the donations we receive are used to care for our rescues waiting for adoption and also allows us to help the cats on our waiting list who are currently living outdoors. People having their own cats spayed and neutered will ensure that more kittens are not adding to the overpopulation.
What should people do if they notice strays hanging around their home?
Not all cats that show up are strays or abandoned. We recommend that people report the cat to the local shelters and also post a photo plus information to the Facebook page, Lost and Found Cats in HRM and Nova Scotia. Many cats have been reunited with their family, and some that had been missing for some time. If an owner cannot be found in a reasonable amount of time, please try to get friendly strays into one of the shelters. For feral cats, people can contact one of the TNR (Trap Neuter Return) groups in Halifax for advice.
Are there any misconceptions about stray/feral cats you'd like to clear up?
Sadly, many people feel that if they don't feed them, they will go away. Go away where? They still need to eat and have shelter. That is a basic kindness that should be afforded to them. We also ask that if people have small kittens in their backyard, that is the time to contact shelters and rescues—when they are still small and can be socialized. Many times we receive calls telling us that a litter of kittens has been in their yard for the past six months or a year. By that time, it is not likely that rescues or shelters would be able to find them homes. Their best hope of getting them adopted is when they are still small.