Because of rising veterinary costs, Critteraid, Summerland’s animal sanctuary, is working to reduce the number of cats in its care.
“With veterinary advances, we’re able to do more, but with that comes a cost,” said Deborah Silk, president of Critteraid.
Last year, total veterinary costs at Critteraid came to $62,859.39.
From January to March of this year, Critteraid’s bill for prescriptions and veterinary care has come to $45,040.88.
At present, Critteraid has 51 cats, 24 rabbits, 13 guinea pigs, five alpacas, two horses, four guest horses, two donkeys, one dog and one cow in its care.
Silk said the animal sanctuary wants to reduce the number of cats to 40, but there is no timeline or deadline for this goal.
Some of the reduction will come when an animal dies or when an animal is adopted.
At present, the number of animal adoptions is low. Those who want to adopt from Critteraid must go through an application process, which includes an inspection of the home where the animal will live.
“We are the agent for the cat and we have to look out for the best interests of the cat,” Silk said.
While the adoption requirements are stringent, Silk said she anticipates more people giving homes to the animals in the future.
“I think we are going to start seeing more adoptions,” she said. “More and more people are coming forward, albeit slowly, to take on special needs animals.”
Critteraid was formed in 1992 to help feral cats and unadoptable cats.
The organization does not take cats which have been surrendered by their owners, as these cats will do better in shelters.
While volunteers would like to be able to take in more animals, Silk said the shelter is not able to accommodate them all.
“We have to concentrate on the ones that are presently under our roof,” she said, “but it still impacts us. There could be 10 Critteraids in every community and sometimes I wonder if that would still be enough.”