My cat refuses to stay inside. What should I do?

In most cases, cats who go outdoors can happily adjust to life indoors. Make the change slowly, and ensure that the indoor environment is enriching for your cat.  Sharing in play time, ensuring lots of stimulus, and providing your cat with a cat-friendly perch to watch the world go by are a few good starter tips.  Deter their interest in the door by giving them a light spray of water from a spray bottle kept nearby.

For a comprehensive list of helpful suggestions go to https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/home-sweet-home-how-bring-outside-cat-indoors

Cats aren’t born wanting to go outside, people teach them to go out.  We know of many happy – and now safe – cats who have made the transition. It is worth the effort.

Do microchips help return cats to their owners?

Yes! Microchips are very helpful in returning lost cats (and dogs) to their owners. It is important however for owners to ensure that the microchip is registered and that the contact information is current and correct.

Microchipping can be done thru a veterinary clinic for a low cost. There are also occasionally free microchipping events, watch for information and promotions.

I’ve heard of a feral cat – what is that?  

A feral cat is a cat that is not socialized to humans – they received no human contact in early life, whereas a house cat received human contact as a kitten and is used to being around people.   The first 8-weeks of life is a critical period, although older feral kittens can be socialized by experienced handlers.

Feral cats live in the shadows and avoid human contact; they are not dangerous. Occasionally house cats who become lost or homeless will demonstrate feral behaviours out of fear, and as a means to survive. Once rescued and after a period in foster care, the cat can usually be re-socialized.

Some feral cats struggle to survive, it is a harsh life out there.  Others (the lucky ones) live in managed colonies where they are provided with a shelter and regular food/ care by a human caretaker.  Since feral cats are unspayed/unneutered and can reproduce several times a year, there can be a population explosion.  Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only humane method to control a feral cat population. We are fortunate here in Halifax to have a progressive and effective TNR program.

One unspayed female cat who has kittens outside can be the start of a feral cat colony. Stop the cycle of homeless/feral cats. Spay/neuter your cat, and keep them indoors.

How does the Halifax TNR program work?

Since 2016 SpayDay HRM has partnered with the city of Halifax and the SPCA on a ‘Trap-Neuter-Return’ (TNR) project in order to humanely address the population of homeless and feral cats. Using this method cats are humanely trapped, taken to a veterinarian to be spayed/neutered, and returned to their colony where a caretaker oversees and feeds them.  Research has shown this is the most humane, safe, and effective way to deal with feral cats. The cats who are returned to their colony live a better quality of life without mating behavior, but most importantly they cannot reproduce and add to the population.  Any kittens who are trapped are socialized and adopted.  Cats who do not have a caretaker to return to are placed in our barn cat program.   

We are thankful to the City for the grant which funds the veterinary fees, and to the SPCA and compassionate SpayDay volunteers for their hard work. 

If you know of feral or homeless cats who need help, contact the TNR Program – catcolony@spcans.ca or call 1-844-845-4798 or visit spcans.ca

What are barn cats?

Barn cats are working cats – they live in barns and provide natural rodent control.  In order to prevent a population explosion barn cats should be spayed and neutered.  Barn cats require daily food, water, and a warm place to sleep.  Their temperament varies, depending on the situation and the cat. SpayDay HRM and the SPCA have barn cat programs – cats who are spayed/neutered may be placed in suitable barns.  They are usually cats who are not adoptable due to their level of socialization, or they may have behavior issues.

Will cat licensing help reduce the numbers of outside cats?

There is no evidence from any community that cat licensing or anti-roam by-laws reduce the numbers of cats outside.  A more typical outcome of such a by-law is increased numbers of cats killed by enforcement agencies. 

What should I do if I know of a cat who has been abandoned?

According to the Nova Scotia Animal Protection Act it is illegal to abandon a cat. Cat owners are required by law to provide them with adequate care. Abandonment is cruel.  If you know of a cat who has been abandoned contact Nova Scotia SPCA – Enforcement at 1-888-703-7722. This toll free number is confidential.  

What happens if my cat gets outside and I cannot find them?

The administrators of the FaceBook group ‘Lost and Found Cats in HRM and Nova Scotia’ have compiled a comprehensive list of tried and true tips that they have graciously allowed us to share here:  Lost Your Cat?

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