October 01, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – The Kamloops SPCA currently is experiencing an influx of feral kittens and needs the public’s help fostering and resocializing the tiny felines.
“It’s vital to catch them at a certain age,” SPCA volunteer Michelle Virdee says adding the cut off age is roughly 12 weeks old.
She before the feral kittens can be spayed or neutered they must first be socialized to live with humans. Called flooding, kittens are put in an open wire cage or crate where they are surrounded by noise of everyday living.
If brought into a house, she says the feral kittens will immediately hide as this is how they’ve learned to survive in the wild. The crates force them to be part of the household.
Foster parents are asked to interact with the kittens through the crate; either playfully or affectionately.
“It takes that gentle persistence,” Virdee says but soon the kittens learn to trust humans.
“They do resolve super quickly. Some will turn around in a couple of days,” Virdee says but the majority of kittens may only need a week or so.
She says feral cat numbers can quickly spiral out of control as cats can have three litters of up to six kittens every year.
Valerie Wilson, the animal welfare supervisor at the shelter, calls the cat colonies “a huge problem” explaining some have upwards of 100 cats.
She says in addition to fosters, the SPCA needs donations of supplies like bleach for the mountains of laundry, wet kitten food and kitten milk replacer.
The feral cats have been an issue in Kamloops for the past year when the SPCA started a task force to deal with the problem.
Often cats become feral when owners abandon them in the belief they can fend for themselves.
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— This story was update at 9:57 p.m., Oct. 2, 2015, to correct the title of Valerie Wilson.
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