Monday, January 10, 2011

"Year of the Cat"

  • Last April I went to a one day workshop put on by the "Summit for Urban Animal Strategies" and we talked for the whole day about cats and there were a couple presenters there - Bill Bruce from Calgary, and Dr. Elizabeth O'Brien from Hamilton Ontario who had led a successful campaign in her city previously that she'd called the "Year of the Cat" - and they discussed how in 2011 they were going to take the program to a national level - and last week the NS SPCA issued a press release announcing the release of a documentary that was going to be shown on CBC called "Cat Crazed" - which was super cute, but also very educational.

    It was great because it got a lot of press covereage, which was unusual for a cat issue - and I hope it continues throughout the year. The day of the conference the things we talked about were interesting - in Calgary there is a coalition between the Humane Society, the Animal Control Department, and the tnr society - so that every feral cat in the city gets picked up, neutered and released back to where it came from - EVERY ANIMAL in the city is dealt with - there is no animal in the city that doesn't have some place to go. UNLIKE here. There is NOWHERE that the buck doesn't stop - and how do they do that? With an almost 100% licencing compliance. So simple.

    The Year of the Cat has also seen the birth of a new coalition of organizations across Canada - "working collaboratively on Year of the Cat initiatives" - they've got a new website at - I love it's mission statement, it's very smart person sounding - "Care for Cats is a long term project that will respond to the cat overpopulation crisis by creating and distributing impactful public education programs and support materials, encouraging community collaboration across all pet industry sectors; providing accurate resources; and collecting and evaluating national metrics to measure success. Recognizing that we cannot expect to completely solve the cat crisis in a single year, Care for Cats was formed and 2011 The Year of the Cat is its first project."

    I do have to say though that I am super disappointed that the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council Of Canada has been able to weasel their way into the organization - it is so unnecessary for them to be involved - there's so many good organizations involved - there is no need for them to mixed up with this. PIJAC insists completely and only to try and legitimize the existence of pet stores and give a clean face to puppy mills in Canada. Period. For any legitimite organization to have any dealings with them diminishes their own credibility - in my opinion. Having PIJAC involved with this campaign tarnishes the whole project - and they should be politely asked to go away - because there is nothing they can add - except maybe the pain and misery of all the puppies mommy's and daddy's that are dying and suffering everyday that they continue to allow and actually try to make appear okay. SHAME ON THEM.

    But other than that - Year of the Cat is going to be a super fantabulous thing.

    Just so that you can see what I mean by everybody being involved being fabulous - and then there's shitty PIJAC - here's the "Advisory Council Members" - with PIJAC stuck in at the end -

    - Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
    - Ontario SPCA
    - SCAT Street Cat Rescue Program, Saskatoon, SK
    - Pierre's Alley Cat Society, Halifax, NS
    - Calgary Humane Society, Calgary, AB
    - Meow Foundation, Calgary, AB
    - City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services
    - Toronto Animal Services
    - Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
    - The Cat Clinic, Hamilton, ON
    - Diane Frank, DVM, Feline Behavioral Specialist, University of Montreal
    - Alice Crook, DVM, Animal Welfare Specialist, Atlantic Veterinary College
    - Margie Scherk, DVM, Feline Specialist, Vancouver, BC
    - Susan Little, DVM, Feline Specialist, Ottawa, ON
    - Hugh Chisolm, DVM, Feline Practitioner, Halifax, ON
    - Anne Marie Carey, DVM, Charlottetown, PEI
    - Diane McKelevey, DVM, Feline Specialist
    - Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) Canada
    - Petsecure, Western Financial Insurance
    - PetLynx Corporation


  1. I am hopeful for this intiative. It collects important voices in one place too. They will be miracle workers if the can get HRM AC on board - let's believe in miracles.

    Hopefully PIJAC will be forced into making some changes.. doubt it..but never give up hope.


  2. That's very interesting, Joan. I've been thinking that in many ways dogs seem to be more important in terms of public attention. Feral cats get discussed but not as much. They seem to be acknowledged, deplored and thereafter stay under the radar. We have a colony in Riverdale (yes--F. that's in the Bronx) that people feed. I have no idea if anyone has thought about neutering and returning them. I do know if there were half a dozen dogs with no collars or owners running loose, it would make the Riverdale Press. Does HRM have a program of ANY sort?