Friday, October 9, 2009

Feral Cats - someone who's got it figured out

Pierre Filiatreault is pretty much the go-to guy - in all of Nova Scotia, for the answer to what should be done about feral cats. It's amazing that he's now a board member of the NS SPCA - any media that he gets is a good news story. If he was given the tools, there'd be no more wild cats within a couple generations in this province. Wouldn't that be super?

There's an article on Halifax News Net currently about him - Dockyard cats neutered, released

Dockyard cats neutered, released
Retired engineer gets national recognition for helping save strays

By Lindsay Jones – The Weekly News
The purrs and the cuddles make it all worth it, Pierre Filiatreault says.

While he recently retired as a military marine engineer, Filiatreault continues to serve the community by trapping, neutering and releasing dozens of feral cats.

He’s trapped more than 50 at the Halifax Dockyard with support from the Department of National Defense, and visits daily to feed them. He’s now making an impact on other areas of the city, as he mentors other volunteer groups in Clayton Park, Sackville and Tantallon to do the same. He’s even created the non-profit group, Pierre’s Alley Cats Society, to raise money for the cause.

“A lot of people have heard about me and they say ‘We have cats living here and they’re feral. What do you think we could do for them?’ I show them how to trap, find a vet in their local area that would work with feral cats, and to get other people involved,” Filiatreault said. “I help them and all I ask is for them to help other people.”

Since the spring, the Clayton Park group has trapped and spayed or neutered 25 cats from an area where people are known to abandon kitties.

And his volunteer work is now getting him national recognition.

Filiatreault was recently awarded one of Pet Lynx Corporation’s two national scholarships to attend a summit in Banff, Alta. this month to discuss how cities can better deal with stray animal problems.

“I’m quite honoured,” he said. “It means so much to me and what I represent. By receiving this, I think I will be representing everybody here in Halifax that’s doing TNR (trap, neuter and release) programs on their own money,” said Filiatreault, who’s also a Nova Scotia SPCA volunteer board member.

“If you trap one cat a day and have her spayed or neutered, it’s a success. That’s a female that won’t have eight or 12 kittens that year.”

While he says the city provides his group no cash at the moment — all the money is raised through donations — he’s hoping that will change. HRM is talking about a TNR program and he says he would love to be involved.

“Of course, it’s going to cost money. If I could get $50,000 a year, we could create a big dent in the population of the cats through having them spayed and neutered,” he said. “I would love to work for the city, spreading all the money around, so that we, as the private citizens don’t have to spend the money to fix a city-wide problem.”

He’s just about to launch a second issue of his fundraising calendar, featuring photos he’s taken of the dockyard cats. All the proceeds go toward TNR volunteer programs in metro. The $10 calendars go on sale at the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council Craft Market Nov. 20 to 23 at the Cunard Centre. Those interested in calendars, or making donations, can contact Filiatreault at or 497-0577.


  1. Anonymous9:14 PM

    TNR is an very effective tool for improving the lives of feral cats,and keeping communities who are "bothered" by them mollified, but in no way would it be "super" for there to be NO wild cats left. They are an essential part of nature and it is arrogant and wrong of humans to meddle with that. Any animal who is sick or suffering should be helped...but to castrate and euthanize whole populations out of existence? I don't agree.

  2. I agree with you - that was a poor choice of words - and I'm sure Pierre would agree with you too - feral cats will never completely disappear, and if they did we'd probably have a much bigger problem on our hands than we did before. I'd much rather have cats around than huge rats - although I've had pet rats and they're great as pets - very similar to cats in fact!

    But I do have to say that I'd much rather see the feral cats in my neighbourhood not all be pregnant all the time - they don't ever look to be very happy or healthy about it.

  3. Anonymous10:22 AM

    Existing feral cats are only one source of wild cats. With out a complimentary low/no cost spay/neuter program (preferably a mobile one to go into the neighbourhoods)to fix owned cats then this original source will still supply the area with more stray cats. I think this was what Mr Bruce was referring to when he said building more shelters is not the answer.