A number of local animal rescues in the Kingston, Ontario area are sounding the alarm about the growing number of abandoned and neglected cats and kittens.
Voluntary organizations said they were at their limits and more needed to be done to prevent acts of cruelty to animals occurring.
Nancy Clark, who works with the Napanee Community Kitten Rescue, said a litter of five kittens was discovered Monday in a Kingston dumpster.
By the time they were found, three kittens were dead and two were clinging to life.
“You don’t just take babies and put them in a dumpster,” she said, “the little gray was barely, barely alive, barely breathing, and had maggots in every orifice .”
This little gray kitten later died.
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The sole survivor of the litter, now named Striker, is no longer in the vet’s care and remains with a foster family who has an incubator.
“He was dehydrated, he was cold when we got him, we warmed him up and ate him and he’s a little better now but… someone put them there,” Clark said.
She said the fact that people are basically disposing of living creatures is the hardest part for those leading animal rescues.
Heather Patterson, who runs another cat rescue called For the Love of the Ferals, checks in on another abandoned kitten who was found on Tuesday. He was nearly blind with serious eye and respiratory infections and was wandering in traffic on a county road near Napanee.
“They’re open, we don’t know what’s in there yet, if there are any viable eyes inside that can be saved or if they’ve ruptured,” Patterson said.
Both women say the number of abandoned and neglected cats has increased since the pandemic began.
“Our numbers have doubled. We had 465 cats the first year, 475 cats the next year and it looks like we’re on track to do about the same this year,” Clark said.
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As the number of rescues increases, veterinary costs also increase, says Patterson.
“This year, I’m going to estimate that our vet bills will be around $100,000,” she said.
This is a reality that has become difficult to bear for grassroots groups.
Both Patterson and Clark say a low-cost neutering and neutering clinic in the area is desperately needed to at least slow the rise in the number of abandoned and neglected cats.
More fundamentally, they say, attitudes towards felines need to change.
“If there were thousands of wild dogs having their babies under your patio, in your shed, in your barn, running through the streets, people would be up to do something about it,” Clark said.
With several cat rescues a day, Patterson and Clark said volunteer organizations like theirs could end up on life support, just like some of the felines they try to save.
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