Report On Cat Overpopulation In Canada


The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) has just launched a new national research report on the state of cat overpopulation as a follow up to its ground-breaking 2012 study, Cats in Canada: A Comprehensive Report on the Cat Overpopulation Crisis. “The good news is that we’ve taken some giant leaps forward in cat welfare since 2012,” says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. “The bad news is that it’s not happening quickly enough to overcome Canada’s cat overpopulation crisis.” In this five-year follow up report, CFHS compared data points from the original 2012 study to those in 2017 to update our understanding of the cat overpopulation problem and how far cat welfare has come since CFHS increased its focus on this issue in 2012.

Key findings from the report include:

  • At animal care organizations across the country, adoption is up, euthanasia is down, animal intake is down and more lost cats are going home.
  • The number of cats who are arriving in shelters already spayed or neutered has doubled, and the number who arrived without permanent ID has been cut in half.
  • Only 28% of Canadians report letting their cats roam outdoors unsupervised. It’s great to see so few cats being allowed to roam freely outdoors because this can be dangerous for cats. There are risks of getting hit by cars, getting into fights with other cats and wildlife or being subjected to cruelty. There are also negative impacts on birds and other wildlife.
  • In 2012, 89% of animal shelters were at capacity, and only 73% reported being at capacity in 2017. This is likely due to more shelters implementing innovative shelter management practices.
  • Over half (51%) of animals being taken in by animal care organizations are now being spayed/neutered prior to adoption, compared to 26% in the 2012 report.

“These trends mirror what we’ve been seeing in our annual animal shelter stats reports,” says Toolika Rastogi, policy and research manager at CFHS and the project lead for Cats in Canada 2017. “That indicates our annual data is a good barometer of what’s happening more broadly at Canada’s animal care organizations.” This new national research is critical to understanding cat population issues in Canada and how they have evolved in the five years of dedicated focus since the publication of CFHS’ 2012 report. As part of this project, CFHS conducted a general population survey of Canadians, as well as a multi-stakeholder survey of animal care organizations, receiving data from municipalities, veterinarians, humane societies and SPCAs, rescue organizations, trap-neuter-return groups, spay/neuter groups and other organizations across Canada that help to house or care for unwanted, abandoned, stray and feral cats in Canada.

Download the report at

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