Three kittens that were found at the Salmon Arm landfill have been making progress in the care of South Okanagan rescue organization, Critteraid.
Earlier this month, a mother cat and her litter of nine kittens were found at the landfill earlier. Unfortunately the mother and five of her kittens were deceased by the time they were discovered.
The four remaining kittens were rushed to the Shuswap Vet Clinic for medical attention, however the clinic was unable to give them round the clock care, so they were sent to Critteraid in Summerland.
Jess Byer, animal director at Critteraid, says that there's nothing that can be done as far as pressing charges for the abandonment of the cat family.
She says that it's difficult to know whether they met their end at the landfill or if they were already deceased when dumped there. So, they've just been focusing on getting the remaining kittens back to a healthy, happy state.
There are only three kittens left, as the fourth one sadly didn't make it. Byer said the kitten had the best life possible for the few weeks that she had been living at the sanctuary.
The kittens have been through so much and are recovering so well that Byer says that they decided to refer to them as "The Phoenix Kids."
Byer explains that the kittens were all named after large birds — Osprey, Raven and Condor. The fourth kitten was named Falcon.
"We called them the Phoenix kids because they're going to rise above this unfortunate incident," she said.
"We weren't able to save Falcon. Unfortunately it's part and parcel. We have to take the good with the bad and just be thankful that at least she got to have a really good couple weeks of love."
Critteraid’s 10-acre property is home to just over 100 cats, most of which have been found on the streets, were left behind after their owners moved, or were rescued from hoarding situations.
After a record year for cat intakes, they’ve had to close their doors to voluntary owner surrenders.
“This year there’s been such a high number of found and abandoned cats and kittens, which is really quite alarming when you think about the numbers,” says Byer. “We have about 95 kittens, most of which are orphans in our foster care program right now — and that's not okay. There has to be a better way.”
“We have to start getting the public's help and education on how important it is to spay/neuter, how important it is to make sure that organizations out there like ourselves are notified when you see an animal that's not regular in your neighbourhood.”
Byer says that the main problem is that there isn’t adequate housing that people can afford that is pet friendly, and it seems to be getting worse.
“The biggest reason we find is that they have to move and they don't feel like they have any answers, and they think that the animals will be fine, and unfortunately they're not fine.”
And, says Byer, in cases where a cat is not spayed/neutered, there's another litter of kittens and the problem just multiplies.
She explains that many sanctuaries are at or near capacity, and there are waiting lists to surrender new animals. When people have to leave or they get caught in an emergency situation, they may feel cornered.
"We really want to let them know that if that's your only option, call us. We will absolutely bend heaven and earth to make sure that animal is not left behind,” she says.
While the “Phoenix kids” aren’t ready to be adopted yet, the organization does have an adoption event coming up this week on June 21 and June 22. They’ll have plenty of adult cats and kittens that all need to go to good homes.
You do have to call and book an appointment due to limited parking and the special needs of some of the animals, but there will also be a plant-based cookout to raise money for the organization.
They're aiming to raise $5,000 to go towards vet bills and care costs and get at least 25 cats adopted.
For more information on the adoption event and open house, click here.