An animal rescue group in Calgary is asking for donations to help cover the cost of veterinary care for more than 90 cats that were surrendered after their owner died.
The Canadian Animal Task Force (CATF), a non-profit organization, got a call in mid-November from someone looking to surrender dozens of cats.
The caller said they didn't realize their family member, who recently died, had been caring for so many animals on their rural property in southern Alberta.
R.J. Bailot, the executive director of the CATF, said the organization anticipated around 40 or 50 animals — not the 90 that showed up on Friday.
"Each cat is going to require medical care … which is a huge cost," he said.
A statement on the CATF website says the cats will need to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and treated for parasites, while some need more care such as dental work.
They will be housed temporarily at the CATF office until they receive care.
"Each of these cats deserves the opportunity to receive the care they need, and we are committed to making that happen," reads the statement.
Surrender comes during busy year
This latest vet bill is on top of an already busy year.
Bailot says the CATF, along with other rescue agencies, are overwhelmed by calls from people no longer able to care for their pets because of finances, returning to work or a family member dying.
He's anticipating that finding the necessary shelter space for the surrendered cats could be a problem.
"It is a concern for us," said Bailot. "We're hoping that with the cats being fully vetted that it will be easier on organizations."
A separate organization in Calgary is asking for a different kind of help. The Calgary Humane Society is looking for 150 new short-term foster families to care for animals over the upcoming holiday season.
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Foster families care for animals who aren't ready to be adopted yet because of their age, health or behaviour. The shelter is looking for fosters for everything from dogs, cats and rabbits to rodents, birds and reptiles, it said.
"This is an excellent opportunity for families who might not be ready to adopt but have the time and capacity to care for an animal while they are home for the holidays," said Sally Johnston, associate director of community services, in a release on Friday.
"It's a win-win for us, our animals get to spend time in a loving home and it takes the pressure off of the shelter and our staff."
The Calgary Humane society provides foster parents with supplies and vet care for the animal they are fostering, it said, and more long-term foster parents are always welcome.