Abandoned, neglected cats and kittens at crisis level: Kingston, Ont. rescue organizations

Click to play video: 'Abandoned cats and kittens is at a crisis level according to local rescue organizations'
Abandoned cats and kittens is at a crisis level according to local rescue organizations
WATCH: A Kingston-area cat rescue says calls for service have double since the start of the pandemic – Jul 27, 2022

A number of grassroots animal rescues in the Kingston, Ont., region are sounding alarm bells about the growing number of abandoned and neglected cats and kittens.

The volunteer organizations said they are at their limits and more needs to be done to prevent acts of animal cruelty that are occurring.

Nancy Clark, who works with the Napanee Community Kitten Rescue, says a litter of five kittens was discovered abandoned in a Kingston dumpster on Monday.
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 grey one was barely, barely alive, barely breathing and had maggots in every orifice.”

That little grey kitten later died.

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The lone survivor of the litter, now named Striker, is out of the veterinarian’s care and is staying with a foster family that has an incubator.

“He was dehydrated, he was ice-cold when we got him, we got him warmed up and eating and he’s doing a little bit better now but … somebody put them there,” said Clark.

She said the fact that people are essentially discarding living creatures is the most distressing part for those who run animal rescues.

Click to play video: 'Dumping pets is animal cruelty — Kingston Humane Society deals with over 40 abandoned pet rats'
Dumping pets is animal cruelty — Kingston Humane Society deals with over 40 abandoned pet rats

Heather Patterson, who runs another cat rescue called For the Love of the Ferals, is checking on another abandoned kitten that was found on Tuesday. It was almost blind with severe eye and respiratory infections and wandered into traffic on a county road near Napanee.

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“They’re open we’re not sure what’s in there yet, whether there’s viable eyes inside that can be saved or whether they’ve ruptured,” said Patterson.

Both women say the number of abandoned and neglected cats has spiked since the onset of the pandemic.

“Our numbers doubled. We went 465 cats the first year, 475 cats the next year and it’s looking like we’re on track to do about the same again this year,” said Clark.

As the number of rescues increases, so too does the veterinary costs, says Patterson.

“This year I’m going to estimate our vet bills are going to be around $100,000,” she said.

It’s a reality that has become difficult to bear for the grassroots groups.

Both Patterson and Clark say a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in the area is desperately needed to at least slow the increase in abandoned and neglected cats.

More fundamentally, they say, attitudes towards felines need to change.

“If there were thousands of feral dogs having their babies under your deck, in your shed, in your barn, running around the streets, people would be up in arms doing something about it,” said Clark.

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With multiple cat rescues daily, Patterson and Clark said that volunteer organizations like theirs may end up on life support just like some of the felines they try to save.

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