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‘Unparalleled’ intake of 280 cats by SPCA draws help from B.C.

Animal welfare society says rescue from Houston home expected to drain resources
This photo shows some of the 280 cats BC SPCA will start removing from a rural Houston property after its owner had called the BC SPCA for help. (BCSPCA photo/Houston Today)

B.C.’s agricultural ministry is working with BC SPCA to care for a sudden influx of 280 cats and kittens, which are set to be seized from a Houston man’s home.

The ministry said in a statement it will make sure the animal welfare non-profit has “the capacity to manage this issue,” but didn’t share any explicit financial commitment. The BC SPCA said on its website that this “unparalleled intake” of animals is “expected to drain BC SPCA resources.”

Eileen Drever, the society’s senior officer of protection and stakeholders relations, said last week that the last time that she remembers a single intake of kittens this large was in the late 1990s.

“There is so much coordination and resource allocation that goes into caring for a number of cats this significant, especially given that many of them are very young kittens.”

Drever added that BC SPCA is still working to understand the full scope of the situation after receiving a call from the owner of the property.

That man, Brian Robinson, told Black Press Media that what began as having two cats four years ago mushroomed into a problem that has caused him stress and anxiety from the ever-increasing number of litters.

“It’s like trying to count the bubbles in a boiling pot of water,” he said of the burgeoning population. “I’ve had 100 cats in my bedroom — 60 on my bed and the rest on the floor.”

The cat population also grew when locals started to leave kittens on his property.

RELATED: BC SPCA takes 280 cats after years of people dumping strays on Houston property

“What we understand right now from the owner is that people started dumping ‘stray’ cats in his yard several years ago, but he has since become completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of them, especially considering most of the kittens and their moms are living inside the home,” Drever said.

The BC SPCA has already visited the property with food, supplies and litter to help support the animals’ needs while the society takes steps to bring the cats and kittens into its care.

Drever said the cats “mostly appear to be in good shape and seem quite social,” but time is tight.

“When we initially attended, our teams were quite surprised to see how well the animals have been taken care of, all things considered, but without a quick intervention the chance of their welfare suffering is very high,” Drever said.

While the animals are healthy, they will still require a considerable amount of veterinary care, on top of transportation, supplies and staffing to oversee their eventual adoptions. BC SPCA said it is currently looking into temporarily renting a large indoor space to house the animals until the society can transport them to BC SPCA animal centres across B.C.

The provincial government last year announced $12 million to help support the construction of four new BC SPCA facilities for injured, sick or unwanted pets in Vancouver, Cowichan, Prince George and Fort St. John.

READ ALSO: 111 animals, including reptile, seized from B.C. property; SPCA investigating

READ ALSO: BC SPCA rescues 18 cats and 2 kittens from Delta home

- With files from Rod Link

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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