Rupert SPCA says new traps will get the drop on cats

Trap–neuter–return program determined to introduce a drop trap for feral colonies

The Rupert SPCA is drawing up plans to purchase a drop trap so they can catch and sterilize savvy cats.

Rupert SPCA branch manager Amy Stacey told the Northern View that she’s working with her staff and trap–neuter–return (TNR) program volunteer coordinator Ashley Johnson on plans to acquire the new trap.

Stacey said the Rupert TNR program has been using traps with standard doors for years, and although they’re making “solid, measureable progress” on the feral cat population problem, they want to try a drop trap for the first time “to trap cats that are wary of a standard trap.”

Typically, a drop trap is a bottomless mesh box that is propped up to allow cats to enter, then dropped over the cat(s) when the trapper pulls a string attached to the object being used to prop up the trap.

Stacey and Johnson said the drop traps are more expensive — about double the price of a standard trap, at around $100 or more — and have to be ordered from Ontario or the U.S. because there are no live trap manufacturers in B.C.

Stacey said they apply for legacy funding from the BC SPCA for their TNR activities. She said grants for 2019 have not yet been awarded, however, they also plan to do some fundraising of their own.

“We are not sure how long it will take to raise the funds, but once we have enough we will move forward with purchasing the trap,” she said.

READ MORE: Thrift store switches charity focus from cats to seniors

Stacey said it’s tough to give an overall estimate on the state of the feral cat situation in Rupert, as cats can reproduce rather quickly, but it’s been estimated that there are approximately 2,500 feral cats in the city.

“In 2018 we successfully completed one large colony of 16 cats, and fixed a total of 64 cats, 39 of which were female,” she said, adding that over the past four years, the Rupert TNR program has fixed 213 cats total.

“We’re seeing a slow reduction in the population of the feral colonies that are fully fixed, and we are not seeing new cats joining those colonies,” she said.

Stacey said it cost them about $146 for a feline spay and about $90 for a male neuter in 2018, at their discounted rate of 25 per cent off for those procedures.

In 2019, she said the rates have increased slightly, to about $168 for a spay and about $104 for a neuter.

READ MORE: Feral cat activist Linda Scott passes away

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