Kitten on the loose

Parksville SPCA is urging cat owners to be more careful

Nadine Durante and Sabrina Qureshi want cat owners to be more responsible.

Nadine Durante and Sabrina Qureshi want cat owners to be more responsible.

Nadine Durante says she has no problem with people dropping off unwanted kittens at the SPCA shelter on Highway 4A, but she wants them to do it during working hours.

The reason why was demonstrated last week when an unidentified person dropped off a kitten in a cardboard box at the shelter.

Unfortunately, the box wasn’t entirely kitten-proof, so the approximately six-week-old was able to escape.

“The staff saw the empty box and started looking around the property,” Durante said. “They couldn’t find it. Another couple of staff members could hear a cat meowing, but couldn’t find out where it was, so they set a live trap for it. Most of us have seen it, but the cat is scared and we can’t get near it. It just skedaddles away.”

Staff were concerned about the kitten — and with good reason.

“It’s exposed to the elements and to wildlife such as bears, eagles, anything,” Durante said.

Indeed, staff were so worried about the kitten they raced to the shelter during Monday night’s violent storm and continued the search in the dark — which was interspersed with flashes of lightning, to no avail. Since then, staff have been taking shifts to search for the kitten, which is described as grey and white, between six and seven weeks old.

“Our concern is large and we are very upset that someone would not take the responsible route and wait until we are open in order to surrender the cat,” Durante said. She noted that people leaving animals unattended at the shelter when it is not open for business could be charged with animal abandonment.

“This is not to be taken lightly,” she said. “If you have a cat you can’t look after, contact the SPCA while we are open and we will do our best to rehome the cat.”

She stressed however that the shelter is at or near capacity for cats, so owners should do their best to find homes for their kittens prior to approaching the shelter.