Cats in Canada A five year review of overpopulation

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1 Cats in Canada A five year review of overpopulation Toolika Rastogi, PhD Policy and Research Manager, CFHS April 22, 2018

2 Cats Count in Canada! National CFHS Cat Task Force and 2012 report Provincial stakeholder meetings 2

3 Cats Count in Canada! Promoting accessible spay/neuter, as a root solution to overpopulation Elevating the status of cats, celebrating the humanfeline bond, and raising awareness of welfare issues Capacity for Care - C4C 3

4 Capacity for Care (C4C) Key concepts: Optimizing the number and flow of cats in the shelter High quality housing Better (ASV outcomes standards) LOS is reduced to prevent stress and illness for cats and Effect on shelter atmosphere/culture/morale people!!! No longer continually overwhelmed with cats 4

5 2017 Five-year review Thank you to the sponsors! 5

6 2017 CFHS Cat Task Force Dr. Disa Boyd Edmonton Humane Society Holly Crone Oakville & Milton Humane Society Marion Emo Hamilton-Burlington SPCA Sandra Flemming & Heather Woodin - Nova Scotia SPCA Lisa Koch & Lindsay West Regina Humane Society Dr. Toolika Rastogi - CFHS Karen McGeean Fredericton SPCA Amy Morris & Marieke van der Velden - BC SPCA Denys Pelletier L Association québécoise des SPA et SPCA Val Poulton Winnipeg Humane Society Marla Somersall Prince Edward Island Humane Society 6

7 Key themes Do cats receive the same care and consideration in Canadian society as dogs, given their own particular needs? Despite improvements in the last five years, cat overpopulation persists 7

8 General population survey of Canadians Conducted by Ipsos using their online omnibus poll Surveyed 1,222 Canadians, 18 years of age or older in ten provinces Representative of the Canadian population based on age, gender and region. 8

9 Pet ownership in Canada 62% of Canadians own at least one pet 1 2 or more Percent households with at least % Average number per household % % % % 2.0 9

10 Cats are the most popular companion animal in Canada Year Households owning at least one cat Households owning at least one dog % 29.1% % 35.2% Those under 55 more likely to be cat owners Those with children more likely to be cat owners 9.3 million owned cats in households in

11 Sources of owned cats Pet s offspring 3% Ad 4% Vet clinic 1% Other 2% Breeder 5% Pet store 7% Rescue 12% HS/SPCA/ shelter 15% Giveaway/Free 19% Friend/relative 17% Stray 16% 11

12 Percent of owned cats spayed/neutered 6% 94% Average 94% in 2017 compared to 80% in 2012 Correlation between income level and likelihood of yes response Social pressure? Any cats s/n None s/n 12

13 How do owned cats spend their time? 28% 16% 56% 72% of owned cats spend their time either indoors (56%) or always supervised while outdoors (16%) Social pressure? 13

14 National stakeholder survey Targeted the same stakeholder groups: Humane Societies and SPCAs Municipalities Rescues TNR groups Spay/neuter groups Veterinarians Same questions posed as in the 2012 survey 14

15 National stakeholder survey Stakeholder Group Total Percent Total Percent Total % % Humane Societies 32 10% 32 7% SPCAs 55 18% 70 15% Municipalities % 58 13% Rescues 35 11% 38 8% TNR groups 22 7% 15 3% S/N groups 3 1% 9 2% Veterinarians 38 12% % Others 5 2% 8 2% 15

16 Perceptions of overpopulation by stakeholder group Total 64% 78% TNR groups Rescues Humane Societies Veterinarians SPCAs Municipalities 95% 89% 88% 74% 71% 38% 93% 100% 100% 75% 87% 49% 16

17 Humane education Cat animal control TNR program Subsidized cat s/n Cat license program Euthanasia High-volume cat s/n Other Practices for addressing overpopulation Cat adoption 78% % 49% 49% 46% 33% 75% 42% 47% 34% 38% 27% 27% 48% 18% 11% 5% 16%

18 High-vol s/n Subs. s/n Adoption TNR Humane Ed Animal control Licensing Euthanasia Other Perceived effectiveness/success of these practices % 87% 85% 83% 65% 55% 36% 63% 68% 79% 72% 55% 34% 31% 20% 20% 47% 54%

19 Sterilization status at intake Type of intake 2016 Already S/N CATS 2011 Already S/N 2016 Already S/N DOGS 2011 Already S/N Stray 8% 4% 11% 6% Owner surrender 25% 10% 29% 13% Total 13% 6% 17% 8% 19

20 Sterilization of animals prior to adoption Stakeholder Group Percent yes in 2017 Percent yes in 2012 Humane societies 100% 97% SPCAs 100% 93% TNR groups 95% 100% Municipalities 19% 27% Rescues 100% 97% Aggregate average 64% 79% 20

21 Organizations that adopt cats to Stakeholder Group members of the public Overall 68% 79% Humane Societies 100% 100% SPCAs 96% 97% Municipalities 31% 30% Rescues 100% 100% TNR Groups 91% 80% 21

22 Sterilization of animals prior to adoption Stakeholder Group Percent yes in 2017 Percent yes in 2012 Humane societies 100% 97% SPCAs 100% 93% TNR groups 95% 100% Municipalities 19% 27% Rescues 100% 97% Aggregate average 64% 79% 22

23 Sterilization while in care Species 2016 S/N of those received 2016 Of which juvenile 2011 S/N of those received 2011 Of which juvenile Cats 51% 48% 26% 28% Dogs 29% 19% 29% 14% 23

24 Stakeholder Group Earliest age of sterilization prior to adoption (in months) Cats Dogs Humane societies SPCAs TNR groups 4.0 not applicable Municipalities Rescues Aggregate average

25 Summary of spay/neuter results Higher fraction of general public report their cats are sterilized (94% in 2017 compared to 80% in 2012) Higher proportion of cats admitted to shelter have already been sterilized More adopted animals are taken home already sterilized Fewer municipalities sterilize adoptable animals prior to adoption compared to % for other types of organizations 25

26 Summary of spay/neuter results (contd.) Higher proportion of juveniles being sterilized Shortage of funds is no longer reason for not sterilizing More accessible sterilization options available 26

27 Cat showers 27

28 Intake to animal care organizations Species Cats (n=158) Dogs (n=129) Total received in 2016 Average per organization Percent juvenile 114, % 47, % 28

29 Intake (contd.) For both cats and dogs: - One half are stray - One quarter are owner-surrendered - One tenth are transferred in Top reason for owner-surrender continues to be housing issues 29

30 Capacity Stakeholder Group Percent capacity used in 2016 Percent capacity used in 2011 Overall 73% 89% Humane Societies 83% 90% SPCAs 66% 95% Municipalities 47% 72% Rescues 95% 91% TNR Groups 86% 93% 30

31 Animals who already had ID on intake Species Received without ID in 2016 Received without ID in 2011 Cats 29% 63% Dogs 21% 46% 31

32 Provision of permanent ID by animal care organizations Stakeholder Group Provide permanent ID 2017 Provided permanent ID 2012 Overall 78% 75% Humane Societies 78% 75% SPCAs 98% 82% Municipalities 43% 29% Rescues 74% 68% TNR Groups 45% 58% 32

33 Reclaim by owners Species Stray animals reclaimed 2016 Stray animals reclaimed 2011 Cats 10% 8% Dogs 68% 57% 33

34 Adoption Species Adopted in 2016 Adopted in 2011 Juvenile 2016 Juvenile 2011 Cats 60% 43% 47% 46% Dogs 45% 38% 23% 27% 34

35 Euthanasia Species Euthanized in 2016 Euthanized in 2011 Juvenile 2016 Juvenile 2011 Cats 18% 40% 17% 20% Dogs 8% 14% 4% 4% 35

36 Most common reasons given for euthanasia CATS DOGS Reason Illness/change in health status Animal behaviour Affordability of medical treatment 94% 88% 73% 79% 42% 67% 82% 91% 11% 22% 6% 16% Lack of space 8% 29% 4% 9% 36

37 Veterinarian Support Cat services for rescues Dog services for rescues Average proportion Cat services for shelters of time/resources Dog services for shelters allocated to Trap-neuter-return supporting these groups Other None 11% % 53% 61% 53% 50% 59% 45% 55% 26% 29% 5% 26% 16% 37

38 Veterinarian Support (contd.) The level of discount veterinarians provide to the organizations they support ranges from 30% to 45%. Most vets are providing spay/neuter surgeries and medical treatment/testing services, as well as vaccinations to the groups they support. 38

39 Summary Good news! Cat owners are reporting more of their cats are sterilized. More cats are being admitted to care organizations already spayed or neutered. The availability of accessible spay/neuter services and their success has increased. 39

40 Summary Good news! (contd.) Organizations are reporting more cats sterilized prior to adoption, and juveniles make up a larger fraction of those sterilized. Lack of funds is less likely to be the reason animals are released for adoption without having been sterilized. A greater fraction of cats are being adopted from animal care organizations. Euthanasia of cats has decreased. 40

41 Summary Bad news There are still twice as many cats taken in as dogs. The proportion of these cats who are juvenile is twice what it is for dogs. The rate of reclaim for stray cats is about one seventh of that for stray dogs. 18% cats taken in are euthanized, compared to 8% of dogs. 41

42 Recommendations Education about importance of responsible pet ownership, spay/neuter, illegality of abandonment Widespread early sterilization prior to sexual maturity among owned cats to prevent unwanted litters that may be relinquished or abandoned. Accessible spay/neuter. Governments provide financial resources to accessible spay/neuter initiatives, rather than relying on charitable organizations, their donors and veterinary partners to fund this important work. 42

43 Recommendations (contd.) Organizations adopting out animals make every effort to spay/neuter 100% of animals prior to adoption. Spay/neuter programs for adoptable animals follow the recommendations in the ASV Guidelines, including that surgery be considered as early as six weeks (Griffin et al., 2016). 43

44 Recommendations (contd.) All cat sheltering facilities incorporate Capacity for Care shelter management practices to reduce the likelihood of illness in shelter, leading to euthanasia. 44

45 Recommendations (contd.) Municipalities communicate with other stakeholders to improve understanding of perspectives across stakeholder groups, as well as collaborate and strategically align efforts. For example, support educational messages with laws, enforcement and compliance promotion, such as adopting bylaws and supportive programs with mechanisms to incentivize sterilization. 45

46 Over to you! Please discuss: What were your key take-home messages? Where do we go from here? 46

47 Thank you! me: Visit: 47