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Canada's Cat Overpopulation Crisis
Canadians love cats. They are still this country’s most popular pet.
While cats are actually found in more Canadian households than dogs, sadly, they do not receive the same care and consideration as their canine counterparts. Education about dog behaviour is prevalent, dog-owner responsibilities are well established in municipal bylaws and canine companions are highly valued by Canadians. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for cats.
In most of the country, there is no dog overpopulation and, in some areas, there is even a shortage of dogs for adoption, while cat overpopulation continues to challenge communities across Canada. The impacts of this overpopulation are serious and include cats languishing in shelters long term, or worse, succumbing to stress-related illnesses. For cats who remain outdoors, risk of disease transmission, as well as illness, injury and death are daily realities.
What are the root causes of this overpopulation? If cats are not spayed or neutered and allowed to roam outdoors, the result is a lot of kittens on the streets and in animal shelters. And without permanent ID, a cat who gets lost might stay that way.
But the tide may be turning. After months of ground-breaking and intense industry research, the Humane Canada™ (also known as CFHS) National Cat Overpopulation Task Force has released a brand-new study about how the issue of cat overpopulation has evolved in the last five years. In our newly released report, we’re seeing evidence that cats are starting to be treated with the level of care they deserve. Attitudes are shifting, spay/neuter rates are going up and we’re seeing more cats with permanent ID, like tattoos and microchips – which help them to find their way home if they ever get lost or separated from their owner. Overall, we seem to be shifting to a more proactive approach to cat ownership in Canada, which is encouraging.
The good news is that we’ve taken some giant leaps forward in cat welfare since 2012. The bad news is that it’s not happening quickly enough to overcome Canada’s cat overpopulation crisis. We still have a long way to go. Shelters in your area are likely still overwhelmed with the number of cats in crisis – just like almost every other SPCA and humane society across the country. And, they need the help of Humane Canada™ today, more than ever.
As our members deal with these issues in their local communities, Humane Canada™ is working at the national level to develop new and innovative programs to help them address overpopulation and its impacts. We are also tracking how these innovative approaches are working.
While the situation may be improving, the pace of change is still too slow. That’s why Humane Canada™ is working to engage even more stakeholders in this next phase of work to overcome the crisis.
Click the image below to download an English copy of the report:
Click the image below to download a French copy of the report:
Did you find this report enlightening and helpful? Support our work so we can keep expanding Canada's body of animal welfare research!
About the Humane Canada™ Frederic A. McGrand Award
The award is named after a founding director and past president of Humane Canada™, the late Senator Frederic A. McGrand. Throughout his life, the Senator recognized and advocated respect for all life. He left an important and ongoing philosophical legacy to the animal welfare movement and also established a charitable trust that continues to benefit humane societies and SPCAs in Atlantic Canada.
Please note that the Frederic A. McGrand Lifetime Achievement Award was not presented in 2018.
The 2017 Frederic A. McGrand Lifetime Achievement Award winner: Dr. David Suzuki!
Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and the co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012 Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world.
He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990, he co-founded The David Suzuki Foundation with Dr. Tara Cullis to collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life, including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.
His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, BC.
Nominate an Animal Welfare Hero
Created in 1985, the prestigious Humane Canada™ Frederic A. McGrand Award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to animal welfare in Canada. Past winners include wildlife rehabilitation pioneers Kay and Larry McKeever, animal welfare advocate and veterinarian Dr. Carol Morgan, farm animal welfare champions Tom and Sharon van Milligen, among many others.
Humane Canada™ will open nominations for the 2019 Frederic A. McGrand Award soon.
How to nominate:
A nominee for the Humane Canada™ Frederic A. McGrand Award must have made a significant contribution as a founder or builder of Canada's animal welfare movement or otherwise have made a substantial contribution to animal welfare in Canada.
The nomination must include the following information:
- A title page with full contact details about the nominee and nominator including:
- A detailed description of the contributions to animal welfare and protection in Canada that were made by the nominee. This may include, but is not limited to, a narrative description by the nominee, newspaper articles, blog entries, media transcripts, articles or other supporting materials.
- Two letters of reference to support the nomination.
- A signature and date by the nominator.
All entries will be reviewed by the Executive Committee of the Humane Canada™ Board of Directors, and the award will be presented at their discretion.
Please send nominations to Humane Canada™ by mail, email or fax:
Mail: 102-30 Concourse Gate, Ottawa, Ontario K2E 7V7
Fax: (613) 723-0252
Past winners of the Humane Canada™ Frederic A. McGrand Award
The Frederic A. McGrand Lifetime Achievement Award has been given out on a semi-annual basis since 1985. Below are the past winners.
Dr. David Suzuki
Dr. David Fraser
Dr. Carol Morgan
Exploits Valley NL
Dr. Alice Crook
Mary L. Driscoll
St. John’s NL
St. John’s NL
Tom and Sharon van Milligen
Dr. Denna Benn
Quebec City QC
Philip Baines (posthumously)
Kay and Larry McKeever
North Bay ON
Senator F.A. McGrand
Fredericton and Ottawa