Windsor is looking to tame its stray cat problem by giving away 1,000 vouchers to pay the costs of neutering.
The city’s Humane Society took in 7,400 felines last year, and it euthanized nearly 870 adoptable cats. In contrast, no healthy dogs were euthanized.
“We have such a good track record finding homes for dogs that we can bring in dogs from other shelters,” said Melanie Coulter, the Humane Society’s executive director.
She said most of the cats they take in are former pets who wandered away from home or were left in the cold. Only a handful of them are feral– but it’s a large handful.
In an effort to get a handle on the cat issue, the city will give away 1,000 vouchers equal to the costs of spaying or neutering a cat. Half were reserved for low-income households. The other half were directed to residents looking after feral cats, and all of those were snapped up within 30 hours.
The city has struggled with stray and feral cats roaming its streets and flooding its shelters for years.
Sandra Bradt, a city staff member who compiled a report on the issue, said bylaw officers have been raising the issue for at least a decade and a half.
The voucher program, worth $75,000, is just the latest effort to deal with the problem. The Humane Society recently opened up an adoption centre specifically for cats, as well as a vet clinic to help spay and neuter the animals.
Coulter said she hopes the vouchers will help bring down the number of healthy cats that are euthanized each year.
“Those are 1,000 cats that won’t be having babies,” she said.