October 9th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 41
Feral Cats Update
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Archive photo
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
An update on the feral cats was discussed during the Tuesday, October 1st, council meeting.

Fire Chief and Manager of Protective Services, Jesse Fox, gave a brief update to council on the success of the program in place.

“I don't know that the cat collection was as big as the indication of the word crisis was last year. It's not to say there aren't cats running around. The actual numbers that we got were 26 captured. That was through three to four different concentrated sessions from experts coming from Calgary looking in areas that community members knew them to be.”

Fox also mentioned that currently, the municipality hasn’t even reached half of the dollar amount given to fund this project.

Local resident Roxy Michalski says that she has also been aiding in the capturing, spaying and neutering of feral cats in the area through her program of Spay the Strays.

Michalski says she began trapping cats in 2006 due to feral cats on her property.

She says at that time, she wasn’t doing a full program because she wasn’t sure where funds would come from.

Michalski says that while there is some frustration in how AARCS are working, she understands it’s difficult for them.

“They haven't had a fair shake at it because they just started. I was a little disheartened that only two members would come at a time. I wish they'd send out a larger number of people. I wish they would focus a little more on priority. But at the same time, how do you prioritize where you go first? Everybody needs something.”
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Michalski says she’d also like to see more communication.

“I’d like more communication. If you want a fair shake on what you're doing, stay in touch with people.”

According to Michalski, there are also multiple factors that play a role in the success of a program like this.

“The weather plays a role in everything. If it's raining or snowing the cats don't come out. Even the wind can keep them hidden. It's really hard to track the cats and you don't want to trap somebody's pet.”

For Michalski, there are multiple steps taken before she’ll release or re-home a cat.

“I take them in, they're vaccinated and any health issues are addressed. You will not get a cat from me that isn't fixed. I'm not contributing to the mess we already have.”

Michalski also says it’s important to find the kittens as well.

“The more sick kittens you have, the more sick cats grow up. Then they're reproducing more sick cats,” she said.

By knowing the area and not having to travel long distances unlike AARCS, Michalski has been able to take in 172 cats.
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Michalski says whether AARCS is able to stay in the area and help won’t play a role in what she does.

“If you have an individual down here that can take some pressure off and do what they can in the mean time so AARCS can come down and do their part, so be it. I'm going to continue what I'm doing regardless. Whether they're here or not I'm going to continue because it's important.”

Some residents are also saying cat sightings are down in certain areas thanks to the combined efforts of AARCS and Spay the Stray.

Michalski says there's a reason for that.

"When AARCS came down, they set up food stations and it takes the pressure off the search for food and it keeps them contained in a certain area because they have a food source now. It helps and makes a huge difference."

Local Veterinarian Christine Cater has also been aiding Michalski throughout this process.

Cater says the work hasn’t gone unnoticed and that the community has played a role.

“I know what Roxy is doing and she has worked tirelessly to get that situation under control. She goes out of her way to help these cats. We have done hundreds of cats. Everything has been done by donations from the community. The community has gone out of their way to help the situation.”

During more discussion on the topic, Councillor’s Ward and Sygutek said they’d like to see the local group come to a meeting to see what their perspective is.

Councillor Ward warned that council should be wary of ending the process too quickly.

Council will now continue to look at different ways of getting the feral cat problem under control.
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October 9th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 41
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