Cat owners in the South Cariboo are being warned to keep their felines indoors after several reports of cats being trapped and relocated over the past few weeks.
The BC SPCA Williams Lake and District Branch posted the warning May 24 after several social media posts were circulated, alleging that domestic cats were being trapped and taken to other areas.
Liz Dighton, manager of the Williams Lake shelter, said their office had received a few complaints on the topic and she had also seen posts about missing cats who were suspected of being trapped in 100 Mile House, 108 Mile Ranch and Williams Lake.
She said the SPCA does often field calls about “nuisance cats” disturbing people’s gardens or making a mess of their yard, however, trapping and releasing cats elsewhere is not recommended.
“Relocating the cat is not fair, it endangers the animal,” Dighton said. “If the cat is an issue and causing problems in your yard, it’s best to reach out to us and bring it in as a stray. That gives us the chance to reunite it with the owner and explain why it’s a problem in the neighbourhood.”
Linda Malek, who lives on Spruce Avenue in 100 Mile House, said she is certain her cat, Misty Mae, was trapped and relocated by a resident on her street.
Malek last saw her nine-year-old muted calico on May 8 when she let her outside. When Misty didn’t return that evening, she thought perhaps she had gotten trapped in someone’s shed in the neighbourhood. She posted online asking residents in the area to keep a lookout and began asking around her block to see if anyone had seen the grey and white cat.
Malek said a woman on her street told her she had heard that someone in the area was baiting cats with fresh fish and then live trapping and relocating them out of town.
“I called the police but they told me it was an SPCA matter,” Malek explained. “The SPCA were really nice about it but in the end, there’s really nothing they can do.”
Malek said the neighbour she suspects trapped her cat told the police that he did so because he was “sick and tired” of the cat urinating in his flower bed, and that he released her near the low mobility trail at Sepa Lake.
She has put up posters around 108 Mile Ranch and is offering a $500 reward for Misty’s return. She has also spoken to the District of 100 Mile, a bylaw officer and MLA Lorne Doerkson’s office, and was told there’s nothing anyone can do.
“It just seems like there’s no justice here,” she said. “We moved from the city to get away from crazy people, and it almost seems like they’re worse up here.”
Dighton said the SPCA shared the information this week to raise awareness that cat-trapping is taking place and is asking anyone with information about missing cats to call their hotline at 1-855-622-7722.
“It does happen, some people consider cats to be a nuisance,” she said, noting it’s best for cats to be trained to stay indoors. “People need to protect their fur babies.”