West Valley Humane Society has followed in the footsteps of many national organizations like: Best Friends Animal Society, Humane Society of the United States, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals by creating a Community Cat Program.
Like many places around the country, the overpopulation of cats in Canyon County has been an ongoing issue for many years. We are hopeful that through the dedication of our community and resources like our community cat program that one day things will be better.
Dedicated Spay/Neuter, Vaccinate and Return programs for cats in our region have proven to be the most humane and effective way to ensure cats: stay healthier, stop reproducing, and become less of a nuisance to community members. Read below to learn more about our program or to sign up to participate!
Through the research of national organizations, we have found that less than 4% of all cats that enter the shelter system are ever returned to their original owner. Cats that were left in their communities/returned to their communities had 13 times higher of a chance of finding their way back home. That same research showed that human intervention, even the work of rescuers and do-gooders, was one of the highest causes of cats not returning home to their original owners.
In our own community, we have found that our return to owner rate for cats through the shelter- (meaning, an owner comes to the shelter to reclaim their cat that was brought in as a stray)- was less than 2%. Of those cats that were returned to their owner, the majority were microchipped. Cats that were not microchipped had a very small chance of being reclaimed by their owner.
In a survey that was sent out to Canyon County Residents indicated to us that most people in our community do not consider their cat missing until 3 days of not being seen and do not look at the shelter until day 5 or 6 for their missing cat. This unfortunately prohibits most cats from being reunited with their owner.
West Valley Humane Society has the ultimate goal of providing the healthiest outcome possible for all cats that come through shelter services. Our overall goals include:
- Return healthy cats back into their community in better condition than they were found. This includes spay/neuter services, vaccines, and other necessary treatment needed (flea treatment, ear mite treatment, tooth extraction, etc.).
- Return friendly cats back to their owners. All friendly cats that are returned to their community are returned and may have a collar and/or microchip. If they receive a collar with a phone number we ask that the owner call the shelter and report their cat back as returned. If no call is made, some cats are followed up on by door knocking or flyers in the community.
- Return feral cats back to their known area. Healthy feral cats that are well fed and have treatable medical prognoses are returned to the area where they have a known food source. Relocating feral cats to other areas (like barn homes or other colonies) has shown to have less success than returning them to the area they are familiar with.
- Reduce the population of homeless, stray, and community cats in Canyon County through Spay/Neuter Services.
- Reduce the spread of preventable diseases in the area through vaccine services.
- Engage community members in advocacy for the cats in our community and help us create more live outcomes for our feline friends.
- To start the program, participants must fill out the Community Cat Program Form below.
- One of our Cat Coordinators will be in touch with you to discuss options like: bringing the cat in, spay/neuter surgery times, and going over the program with you.
- All feral, semi-fractious and under-socialized cats must come in a live trap. If the cat is not able to be easily handled, a live trap is necessary for the safety of the cat and our staff. If a feral cat is brought in a carrier or other enclosed item, you may be refused service as our staff will not be able to safely sedate the cat for services.
- When you bring the cat in, they will be evaluated for overall health and temperament. This program is designed for cats that are healthy, have good body weight, and are uninjured. Cats that are sick, or injured will be evaluated, and may or may not qualify for the program.
- West Valley Humane Society will spay/neuter & vaccinate up to 4 community cats per household. After the first 4, you can continue participating for $25 per cat.
- Participants must provide either a credit card or put down a cash deposit for services for the program. There is a $50 deposit to participate in the program. We will not charge your credit card unless you do not return for the cat.
- You must pick the cat back up after their surgery and return the cat to the location it was found. Research has shown that cats do best when returned back to their community within 36 hours of when they were picked up and if they are returned within a quarter-mile of where they were picked up. We recommend returning the cat to the exact location they were found. If you do not return for the cat, you will be charged a $50 deposit.
West Valley Humane Society does not have a full service veterinary clinic. Animals that are currently part of the shelter system are a top priority for our clinic services. We schedule appointments based on clinic staff availability and funding. We will work with you to get cats in and out of the shelter as soon as possible and will be able to tell you time frames as we get in contact with you.