October 14, 2005, VANCOUVER – October 16 is National Feral Cat Day and The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is asking people to remember the plight of these intelligent homeless animals and do what they can to reduce their suffering.


"The situation regarding homeless cats is tragic, unacceptable and out of control," says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. "Virtually every community in Canada has feral cats who experience considerable hardship as they try to survive the challenges of every day existence."

"Over a seven year period, two cats and their offspring can theoretically produce a staggering 420,000 kittens. Spaying and neutering feline animal companions and adopting cats from humane societies, SPCAs, shelters and rescue groups means fewer animals are killed and you get a new family member,” says HSC Executive Director, Michael O’Sullivan, whose family shares their home with rescue cats. “We’ve also learned that keeping your cats indoors means they will live twice as long as free roaming cats and stay healthier.”

"Many individuals and organizations dramatically improve the lives of feral cats and reduce future suffering by conducting trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs," says O’Sullivan. "By providing food, water, shelter and veterinary care, including having the cats spayed and neutered, people who care for homeless cats are ensuring that the cats don't add to the pet overpopulation crisis and that they are provided with some of the basics necessities of life."

The Humane Society of Canada supports a number of such programs including one in the nation's capital where Rene Chartrand, also known as "The Cat Man," cares for 26 feral cats on Parliament Hill. Mr. Chartrand travels across the city every day to provide the cats, all of whom have been spayed and neutered, with food, water, litter and veterinary care. Mr. Chartrand estimates that it costs him approximately $6,000 each year. For his generous actions, The Humane Society of Canada made Rene Chartrand a recipient of their coveted "Heroes for Animals Award." You can read more about Rene Chartrand's inspirational story on our website.

On a recent trip to Ottawa, HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan and his son Pierce had the honour of meeting "The Cat Man" where they learned of his incredible efforts caring for the cats but also of his concerns of who will help them when he no longer can.

"During our visits, we have made donations to help pay for food and veterinary care and we also told Mr. Chartrand that whenever he or the cats need us, we will be there for them," says O'Sullivan.

The Humane Society of Canada encourages people to celebrate National Feral Cat Day by learning more about feral cats and assisting those individuals who help homeless cats.

5 Ways to Celebrate National Feral Cat Day


  1. Donate money, cat food and/or your time to people and organizations who help feral cats.
  2. Learn more about feral cats and the special animals that they are.
  3. Encourage family, friends and co-workers to have their cats spayed and neutered.
  4. Encourage people looking to acquire a feline friend to adopt a homeless cat.
  5. Contact your local government and encourage them to humanely deal with the cat overpopulation crisis by offering incentives to have cats spayed and neutered, by encouraging people to adopt animals from pounds and shelters and, when necessary, to support TNR programs.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

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