By JEN MACLELLAN
For BCSPCA SALT SPRING
Salty Paws Driftwood column
It’s kitten season on Salt Spring! Little teeny bundles of fluffy ginger, tabbies and torties in all corners of the island. It’s incredibly tempting to add one of the adorable four-legged fuzzies to your family, especially if they are “free!”
Having been involved in animal rescue on the island for over 20 years, I can tell you honestly, what they say is true, there is no such thing as a free kitten.
Kittens need veterinary care from the start. They need deworming, parasite protection and vaccinations to ensure a long healthy life. In the past couple of years we have seen a spike in very sick kittens arriving at the BCSPCA shelter. Kittens born to feral moms or pets that haven’t been vaccinated don’t receive all the immunity from the queen that they need. The illnesses are long and traumatic, sometimes permanently affecting the development of the kitten, sometimes resulting in death. Most of these illnesses are easily preventable with vaccines.
Please spay or neuter your pet. Unaltered animals allowed to wander are causing an explosion in our feral cat population despite increased focus on trying to control it. Males will travel for miles, driven by instinct and often risking their health by entering feral colonies, fighting for territory, crossing roads and dangerous territory. Females may not return home to give birth, alone in the elements, surrounded by potential predators, in addition to the the risks involved in labour and delivery.
With the veterinarian shortage and an increase in costs for veterinary medicine, many people find it difficult to get their animals the care they need. If you find yourself in that position please reach out. Ask about our SNIP vouchers for spay and neuter. If you find a “free” kitten we would love to tell you about our foster to adopt program. The BCSPCA has resources to assist you.
Consider insurance. It’s comforting knowing you won’t have to make a decision on the best care for you pet based on finances.
The BCSPCA on Salt Spring has adoptable kittens for just over $200. All kittens receive veterinary care, parasite protection, deworming, core vaccines and are spayed or neutered and microchipped. They also come with six weeks of free pet insurance.
The shelter is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. if you would like more information or to meet one of our amazing adoptable cats.