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The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) is collaborating with local animal welfare organizations to support Winnipeg’s cats, cat owners and address cat overpopulation.

The WHS received over $201,000 in grant funding from the City of Winnipeg and The Winnipeg Foundation for the one-year trial project “We Are Here for the Animals. We Are Here for You.”

The revolutionary program is a new approach to make essential spay and neuter services more available to the community. The program offers additional resources to cat owners through a satellite outreach centre and will train volunteers to manage feral cat colonies in non-residential areas. A full-time veterinarian is hired to focus on spay and neuter surgeries for cats through this program.

“When consulting with our community it was clear they wanted the WHS to work with other animal welfare organizations and do more to end cat overpopulation,” says WHS CEO Javier Schwersensky. “This funding allows all of our organizations to utilize our strengths and create an innovative program that makes a difference for cats and cat owners in key areas of the city.”

The WHS is partnering with CARE Cat Community Outreach and opening a satellite outreach centre at 1051 Main Street. The new office will provide transportation for cats receiving low-cost spay and neuter surgeries at the WHS and will remove any barrier a cat owner might encounter to fix their pet.

On an outreach component, CARE will also empower and educate the North End, Elmwood and Transcona communities at presentations and run a program to build a network of animal welfare leaders. The trained volunteers will raise awareness of the services, programs, and resources available to cat owners.

The innovative program also combats cat overpopulation created by feral cat colonies. Winnipeg Lost Cat Alert (WLCA) joins forces with the WHS to run a pilot project to control the population of feral cats in non-residential areas. WLCA will train volunteer colony managers to humanely trap cats and transport to the WHS for spay/neuter surgery.

In 2016 the WHS Clinic performed over 6,000 spay and neuter surgeries. The “We Are Here for the Animals. We Are Here For You” campaign targets spaying and neutering an additional 1,800 cats over the next year. To keep up its pace, the WHS has hired a full-time veterinarian dedicated to performing spay and neuter surgeries for the program.