May 7, 2019 8:47 am

Kingston’s municipal feral cat spay/neuter program set for council approval this week

WATCH: A $25,000 feral cat spay/neuter program is set to be approved by Kingston city council this week.

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Every year since 2013, the City of Kingston has provided up to $25,000 to spay and neuter feral cats.

This year, city council is set to approve the program again now that city staff have ironed out service agreements with three cat rescue facilities in the region.

Heather Patterson is the founder of For the Love of Ferals, one of the groups participating in the program, and says the money is helpful to her organization.

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“It’s great what the city does — $25,000 for the (trap, neuter, vaccinate and return program) is a great start,” Patterson said.

READ MORE: Ontario city overrun with feral felines

Coun. Lisa Osanic says the municipality is also loosening the rules on which cats qualify for the program, extending it “not just to feral cats but to stray cats, any cat that’s been lost or any cat that’s been abandoned.”

However, the money for the program is only a drop in the bucket, according to Patterson. At roughly $200 per procedure per cat, that funding adds up to enough to spray or neuter 125 cats, she says.

“Sadly, there’s going to be a lot more kittens born than the 125 cats that can be fixed with that money so are we going to make a big dent in the population? No,” Patterson said.

For the Love of Ferals and Forgotten Ferals spent $90,000 combined on veterinary bills in 2018. Patterson says the majority of that money was used to fix felines.

READ MORE: Winnipeg overrun with an estimated 100,000 feral cats, says shelter

Both Osanic and Patterson say the real long-term fix would be to have a high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Kingston.

Attempts to get the Kingston Humane Society on board with that idea were rejected last year, however Osanic hopes the municipally funded organization will reconsider.

“We just have to keep on asking them and giving them the examples of all the other cities that are coming on board with a spay/neuter clinic in conjunction with their local Humane Society,” she said.

Osanic and Patterson both say they plan to attend the Kingston Humane society’s annual general meeting next week. The meeting gets underway on May 16 at 6 p.m. at the Ongwanada building on Portsmouth Avenue.

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