Volunteer Christy Moschopedis (pictured) and Jill Robertson have caught 59 cats from a feral cat colony on one cul-de-sac in Chilliwack. The cats are then neutered and either adopted out or, if too wild, returned to the spot. (Darren McDonald photo)

Volunteer Christy Moschopedis (pictured) and Jill Robertson have caught 59 cats from a feral cat colony on one cul-de-sac in Chilliwack. The cats are then neutered and either adopted out or, if too wild, returned to the spot. (Darren McDonald photo)

VIDEO: Nearly 60 feral cats caught in one B.C. neighbourhood

Two volunteers caught and neutered 59 cats from one Chilliwack cul-de-sac with more still to catch

Just about every day these days Christy Moschopedis and Jill Robertson head out to check traps on a quiet Chilliwack cul-de-sac to see if they’ve caught another cat.

The two volunteers caught feline number 59 on Thursday in what is an out-of-control feral cat colony on this sleepy street.

“This population just exploded over the last two summers,” Moschopedis said. “It was a really, really bad kitten season. So many kittens and not enough organizations to be able to take care of them.”

Moschopedis and Robertson don’t work for the BC SPCA or even one of those organizations she’s talking about, they just love animals and are doing their part in the seemingly never-ending battle against the feral cat population.

(Scroll to bottom for more photos.)

They are following the policy known as TNR: that stands for trap, neuter, return. They humanely capture the cats in cages from this neighbourhood. The local branch of the SPCA is paying for them to be neutered, and Cheam View Veterinary Hospital is giving a good deal on the neutering. And then if the cats are truly too wild to be adopted, they are returned to the cul-de-sac, others are adopted or are in foster homes awaiting adoption.

By Nov. 29, of the 59 cats they had caught, 21 had to be returned and 42 have the chance of being pets. (The numbers don’t add up because one cat was pregnant.)

Some of those waiting adoption are at Heart and Soul Dog and Cat Rescue Society in Abbotsford, some at Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA), some at Cat Therapy and Rescue Society. Moschopedis herself has adopted one kitten, and its two siblings are at Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven.

And while Moschopedis and Robertson are doing this on their own, just because they can, there is also ABC Cat Rescue and Adoptions in Chilliwack that does similar work.

So is this feral cat colony on this one small cul-de-sac unique? Not by a long shot.

“There are so many properties around the area like this,” Moschopedis said. “I have friends that work on dairy farms and the farmers are taking care of feral colonies on their own dime.”

According to the BC SPCA, since female cats can breed three times a year and have an average of four kittens per litter. That means in just seven years, one unspayed female cat and her offspring could theoretically produce 420,000 kittens.

• RELATED: Okanagan feral kittens rescued from “certain death” now in foster care

• RELATED: 111 cats surrendered by one person to BC SPCA

Chilliwack BC SPCA branch manager Chloé MacBeth says feral cat colonies are a huge problem in Chilliwack, for the SPCA but also for neighbourhoods, the environment, and of course the cats themselves.

“Feral cat colonies have a huge impact on our shelter because every year we have a kitten season or two – we have two kitten seasons right now – where we have tons of kittens being born,” MacBeth said in an interview at the branch on Hopedale Road. “Orphaned kittens, kittens and moms that we have to bring into the sheltering system…. Our fostering homes are overwhelmed.”

MacBeth said the BC SPCA is looking for data so they can find out just how many colonies are out there, and how many cats they are looking at.

“Anybody who knows of a feral cat colony should contact the branch either through Facebook or email and let us know where the colony is and roughly how many cats are involved and generally what the health status is, and if they have a caretaker involved that is already taking care of them.”

As for Moschopedis and Robertson, they’ll continue to check the traps at the site in question in Chilliwack, although there are fewer and fewer to be found. Those truly feral cats that are returned have had one ear clipped – something that doesn’t hurt them – by the veterinarian so volunteers know the cats have been neutered.

“It’s insane how quickly they can overpopulate an area,” Moschopedis said.

How did this particular cat colony get so out of control? No one is certain, but a property owner told her somebody dumped an animal and she couldn’t find anyone to help out.

“There area always options, you don’t have to dump your cat. They’re not disposable.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Volunteer Christy Moschopedis preparing a cat trap in a Chilliwack neighbourhood home to a large feral cat colony. (Darren McDonald photo)

Volunteer Christy Moschopedis preparing a cat trap in a Chilliwack neighbourhood home to a large feral cat colony. (Darren McDonald photo)

Christy Moschopedis being bitten by a feral cat through a motorcycle glove at a colony in Chilliwack. (Darren McDonald photo)

Christy Moschopedis being bitten by a feral cat through a motorcycle glove at a colony in Chilliwack. (Darren McDonald photo)

A feral kitten in a cage read to be brought to a vet to be neutered. (Darren McDonald photo)

A feral kitten in a cage read to be brought to a vet to be neutered. (Darren McDonald photo)

A feral kitten in a cage ready to be brought to a vet to be neutered. (Darren McDonald photo)

A feral kitten in a cage ready to be brought to a vet to be neutered. (Darren McDonald photo)

Volunteer Christy Moschopedis (pictured) and Jill Robertson have caught 59 cats from a feral cat colony on one cul-de-sac in Chilliwack. The cats are then neutered and either adopted out or, if too wild, returned to the spot. (Darren McDonald photo)

Volunteer Christy Moschopedis (pictured) and Jill Robertson have caught 59 cats from a feral cat colony on one cul-de-sac in Chilliwack. The cats are then neutered and either adopted out or, if too wild, returned to the spot. (Darren McDonald photo)

A feral kitten in a cage ready to be brought to a vet to be neutered. (Darren McDonald photo)

A feral kitten in a cage ready to be brought to a vet to be neutered. (Darren McDonald photo)

A feral cat in a cage ready to be brought to a vet to be neutered. (Darren McDonald photo)

A feral cat in a cage ready to be brought to a vet to be neutered. (Darren McDonald photo)

VIDEO: Nearly 60 feral cats caught in one B.C. neighbourhood

Volunteer Christy Moschopedis and her son Callum preparing a cat trap in a Chilliwack neighbourhood home to a large feral cat colony. (Darren McDonald photo)

Volunteer Christy Moschopedis and her son Callum preparing a cat trap in a Chilliwack neighbourhood home to a large feral cat colony. (Darren McDonald photo)

Just Posted

Heather Smart poses with her certificate as the first women in a decade to earn this credential in the Kootenays. (Photo submitted)
Local shift boss blazing the way for women

Heather Smart is the first women in the Kootenays in ten years to receive this certification

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read