Vet with big heart – Donations needed to keep “Catch & Release Program” for Feral Cats alive
Catch & Release Program – There is a problem with too many stray and feral cats around Montreal. These are typically the descendants of abandoned animals. Territorial in nature, they often fight with domestic cats, sometimes injuring and infecting them with communicable diseases.
Between their fighting and mating rituals, they can be very noisy. Such cats also tend to have many kittens, most of which can die horrible deaths on our streets. Media reports suggest up to one million stray and feral h cats in Montreal. But Passion Compassion, a South Shore veterinary hospital, is showing how “Catch & Release” (C&R) programs can lead to better lives for felines.
“We ask the person who brings the cat here to pay $75 for a cage rental,” explains Marie-Ève Vaillancourt, the head veterinarian. “Then we do a blood test on the cat, checking for feline AIDS and leukemia. We vaccinate against rabies, spay the cat and treat it against parasites. After that, we release the cat back where it was found. Or, in the case of cats to be adopted, we also provide dental treatment!”
While some other groups are also doing C&R, they are not necessarily providing all of these treatments says Vaillancourt. She sees hers program as a way of controlling the population of stray and feral cats, while reducing the prevalence of feline diseases.
Over the past two years or so,Vaillancourt estimates having released 20 cats back into their environment. The cats treated by Passion Compassion are released back into their environment are marked with a slight cut on their ear. They are also fitted with a microchip to track their location.
“For kittens raised at Passion Compassion, we can transform them from feral into sociable creatures for our adoption programs. We have six that need adoption now and once we had 11 kittens to be adopted at the same time. Since our program started two-and-a-half years ago, we have had some 60 such cats adopted.”
“When people adopt our cats, the technician spends a full hour with them, explaining about health issues such as urine problems. Our technician also explains how to play with cats so as to reduce their aggressiveness. Visitors are invariably charmed by our cats, which make amazing pets. Having spent time here, they are used to chaos, noise, and even dogs.”
“But this costs us money: $650 for a male cat and $750 for a female. We would like to expand the program, but cost restraints are holding us back. The $250 we charge those adopting cats covers only a portion of our cost. Passion Compassion absorbs the labour costs involved, as well as food and litter. To pay for this, my mother is out, doing fund raising, selling fudge, cookies, and necklaces.”
Passion Compassion accepts donations, sent as e-transfers via email, and cheques. But the group does not yet have charitable tax status to issue tax-deductible receipts.
“I am also happy to show our clinic here in Boucherville to visitors. We can treat emergencies and are equipped for big surgeries. Our animals are often loose; this is a low stress environment. It is also important to me that our clinic is made with eco-friendly construction materials.
Hôpital Vétérinaire Passion Compassion
650, rue de Montbrun, local 106,
Boucherville, QC, J4B 8G9