The last of more than 50 cats are being brought in from a local home to the Victoria shelter of the BC SPCA, and it’s expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars to rehabilitate them.
The cats arrived in groups of 20 to 30 between Wednesday and Friday last week after an investigation led to their surrender by their owner. Most of them are in pretty sad shape, according to Annie Prittie Bell, branch manager in Victoria, but she is grateful they are out of their previous situation.
“They’re in really gross shape,” she said. “They’re coated in urine and feces, a lot of these guys, so we’ve been washing them and cleaning ears and cleaning faces, and shaving mats, and trying to clean bodies if the urine scald is tight to the skin.
“We’re probably looking at 30 that are going to need dental work. There is a lot of dental disease in these guys, and lots of dehydration, lots of upper-respiratory and eye infections.”
Dealing with the health issues of so many cats at once will cost thousands, Prittie Bell said.
Because most of the animals seized were so sick, 25 healthy cats that were being housed in the shelter were moved into foster homes and into shelters in Nanaimo and Cowichan. The latest batch of surrendered animals to come in have been given physical exams, cleaned, vaccinated, de-fleaed and de-wormed.
The situation has been difficult, Prittie Bell said, both emotionally and in terms of processing the massive influx of cats with some staff on holidays.
“I’ve had [my] moments,” she said, “I think the cat that started drinking and wouldn’t stop was probably the hardest from what I saw. It’s been pretty tough.”
But this isn’t the end of the line for these cats. They may be afraid, but there is hope they can recover and be placed in new homes.
“A lot of them are really workable. There’s one that’s a little bit more bitey and one that’s hissey, but they’re remarkably handleable as a crew,” Prittie Bell said, “considering there were so many and they wouldn’t have been getting one-on-one socialization.”
BC SPCA will release more information as the investigation unfolds.
Sunday’s fundraiser goal now higher
The Paws for a Cause fundraiser walk happening this Sunday (Sept. 10) originally had a goal of $50,000, but with the recent influx of sick cats, more money is urgently needed.
“This influx of cats has definitely put pressure on our shelter and we really appreciate any help the public can provide in helping with the costs for these animals,” said Prittie Bell. Donations can be made at spca.bc.ca/support or in person at the shelter at 3150 Napier Lane.
Paws for a Cause, benefiting the BC SPCA Victoria Branch and the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre, takes place at Clover Point off Dallas Road gets underway at 10 a.m. with the walk starting at 11:30. There will be entertainment and other activities, a barbecue and community vendor booths.