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You know it is going to be a tough day at our shelter when staff come to your office in tears, absolutely stressed about caring properly for our beloved animals. This is what happened yesterday at the Winnipeg Humane Society.

For the first time since we opened our new facility ten years ago there was no existing room to house cats. We had to place them in Vari Kennels (small carrier kennels) overnight. This is not what a shelter should do – even if it was for the night.

I had no choice but to declare a shelter State of Emergency for Cats at the Winnipeg Humane Society. Our shelter is maxed out for felines. There’s 437 cats in our care and that number grows each day. In the last week alone, we’ve gone through one month’s supply of cat food and litter.

You may ask why is this happening. There are several reasons:

  • We made a pledge to you a year ago: every animal coming to our shelter will be given a fair chance at finding a new home, irrespective of age, initial health assessment or how they look. In the past, we used to euthanize cats that arrived at our shelter showing signs of Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), which is a cat cold. We no longer euthanize these cats and do everything we can do find them homes. Cats that carry the Feline Inmunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are also now available for adoptions. Out of 10 cats arriving at the WHS, 9 are now making their way to adoptions.
  • Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve dealt with multiple hoarding situations. These are people who became inundated with cats and approached us because they needed our help. We must find spaces for these cats.
  • Our new outreach initiative in Winnipeg’s core area has been extremely successful not only at identifying cats that need spay/neuter surgeries but also at locating cats that need rescue.
  • We continue to accept and care for stray cats across Winnipeg and pledge to provide them with the care they need. The City of Winnipeg does not have a facility for stray cats, and as the largest animal shelter in Winnipeg, we have accepted working with them and be the place for stray cats in our City.

But our success comes at a cost and we need your help. Here’s what you can do:

    • Adopt an animal that is FIV positive or has recovered from URI ,the kitty cold. We are a temporary shelter for animals, but if we are all serious about giving every cat a fair chance, we need people willing to adopt these wonderful kitties. If you’re planning to adopt, now is the time. Cats that previously had a cat cold are free to adopt until August 18.
    • If you can’t adopt, please become a WHS foster by clicking here.
    • If you find a stray cat without identification, try to contain it in a safe location, file a found report with us, and try to put posters around a 3-block radius. Most lost cats don’t travel far and you can facilitate a reunion very quickly.
    • Please have your cat spayed or neutered. If you cannot afford this surgery, we have subsidized rates that you might apply for.
    • We are spending more money than ever in food, cat litter and medication. Your financial contribution would be greatly appreciated.

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I would be remiss not to mention the phenomenal efforts of our staff and volunteers at the WHS. They are working harder than ever, not giving up in our hope to nurse animals back to health, improve their behavioural problems when they have them, and find them great homes.

While the journey for a better life starts when a Good Samaritan brings an animal to the Winnipeg Humane Society, the real journey begins when they are adopted. We need more people willing to adopt our pets, giving them the love and care they deserve. We are counting on you to be part of this incredible rescue effort.

In service,