September 7, 2018 3:11 pm
Updated: September 7, 2018 7:45 pm

Number of impounded cats doubles in Calgary, majority not reunited with owners

WATCH: An alarming number of cats impounded at Calgary Animal and Bylaw Services never find their way back to their original homes. As Lauren Pullen reports, staff are now voicing their concern.

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It’s been a rough year for Calgary cats picked up by city bylaw officers. The city has impounded 1,167 stray or lost pets between January and February 2018 but only 34 per cent have been reunited with their owners.

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“We’re seeing way too many cats come into the shelter, and not enough of them are making it back home. We’re unable to find many of the owners because the cats are unlicensed and do not have a microchip,” said Patti Smadis, customer service representative at Animal Services.

The number of homeless cats taken off the street has doubled between January and August of this year compared to the same period in 2017.  Owners are required to license their cats after they are three months old or they could be slapped with a $250 fine.

“Sometimes people don’t think they need to license their indoor cats, but the reality is that mistakes happen and cats do get out. It helps to think of a licence as your pet’s ticket home,”  Smadis said.

READ MORE: Cat’s out of the bag: Calgary airport adds feline friends to pet therapy program

Owners who lose a pet that is not licensed run the risk of it being adopted out to another home.

Licensed impounded pets are held for 10 days before they are put into the adoption pool. Animals with no identification are eligible to go to other homes after four days at the shelter.

The city says if the pet is wearing a tag, officers will attempt to take the animal home first, and if nobody is there they’ll go to the shelter.

Bylaw is having better luck reuniting impounded dogs–1,254 were picked up during the same timeframe and 84 per cent went back home.

Calgarians can find helpful information about responsible pet ownership at the city’s website.

If you have lost a pet, you should call 311 to report them missing and visit the website for pictures of found animals at the shelter.

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