Many of the cats living on the streets are tame and socialized, meaning that they are house pets who have been abandoned. Many people abandon their animals when they move into buildings that do not allow animals (hence a spike in abandonments at the beginning of July, when Montreal's leases end). Others simply decide, for one reason or another, that they no longer want the animal. Sometimes because they did not fully understand how much work a pet entails.
Regardless of the reason, this what created and continues to perpetuate the homeless cat problem. The first way you can help is therefore by making (and encouraging your friends and family to make) a pledge to never abandon an animal, and thus to never take in an animal unless you can commit to keeping it for the duration of its life!
Many people do not neuter their pets, meaning that many abandoned animals are unsterilized and can perpetuate the homeless cat population. One female cat can have 3 litters a year of between 1-8 kittens. This averages out to 12 kittens a year per female. If even 1/4 of the 1,000,000 homeless cats in Montreal are female and of breeding age (6 months old), there would be 250,000 cats having 12 kittens a year. The second way you can help is therefore to sterilize your animals and to encourage your friends and family to do so as well!
Homeless animals are the responsibility of each municipality. The third way you can help is to therefore to bring this issue to the attention of your city councillors! Attend town meetings and be vocal in demanding funding and action to implement TNRM programs in your community. You can find links to some of the research supportive TNRM on our What We Promote page.
It takes a village -- and not necessarily of entirely like-minded people -- to produce change. Not everyone likes cats: many people resent roaming cats going into their gardens, or otherwise dislike cats and just want them gone. Remember that we and they have something important in common: we all want to fix the overpopulation issue among homeless cats. The fourth way you can help is by talking to people in the community -- cat-lovers and -dislikers alike -- about the effectiveness of TNRM for achieving this goal, and encouraging them to speak to city officials as well! Greater community awareness of the problems and the effectiveness of TNRM increases the likelihood of action by city officials.
Aside from the large humane organizations, TNRM groups like ours are often self-organized teams of 4-5 volunteers who use their own time and funds to trap and neuter homeless cats. The fifth way you can help is by donating to Educhat and other community organizations like us! Vet bills are very expensive, so your support is essential to our continued efforts.
Everyone is capable of helping out. Volunteers are always needed to help with trapping, transport, fostering cats, building cat houses, doing fundraisers, and raising awareness. Please contact us if you would like to help out or if you have questions: we have answers, and if we don't we will help you find them. If we all work together, we can help curtail the overpopulation of homeless cats!