CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — During the pandemic, for many, pets have become an emotional life preserver. State officials said pet adoptions are on the rise, but when it comes to the streets, the stray cat population is up too.
“With fewer spay and neuter opportunities for cats and the sheltering system being slowed down, we’re anticipating that we’re going to see more unplanned liters of kittens,” explained James Bias, Executive Director of the Connecticut Humane Society.
Elective veterinary surgeries have been shut down for months. Add warm winters to the mix and you’ve got a feral cat problem.
“They go through a heat cycle every few weeks in the warmer months,” Bias said.
If you see a stray missing an ear tip that means it was captured, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, tested and released.
Officials said hoarding and dumping are also issues.
“Several hundred cats that came into our system this past year were from hoarding cases that we did not see prior to the pandemic,” Bias said.
“Inner cities tend to see more stray animals outside because of apartment complexes and units that people move out of,” added Laura Burban, Director of the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter
Karyn Putney volunteers at Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford.
She recently trapped a colony of feral cats being fed and sheltered behind a restaurant. She’s now doing everything she can to take care of them.
Putney also got a call about a cat in Naugatuck with matted skin and sores on its paws, crying outside someone’s door.
“Someone had moved out of the apartment complex and left him behind,” she said.
Unfortunately, experts said cases like that are all too common.
Burban said she’s worried about what happens when owners are no longer working from home.
“We are a bit concerned about people that are going to be going back to work out of their home that may have adopted an animal and are now feeling a little stressed about that.”
Officials advise keeping your cats indoors. And if you can no longer care for your pet, dumping them doesn’t have to be the answer. There are plenty of resources out there.
Visit the Connecticut Humane Society’s website for information about rehoming or surrendering your pet.