*File photo
*File photo

The Bermuda Feline Assistance Bureau (BFAB) will tomorrow remind islanders to get their cats spayed or neutered as we commemorate International Homeless Animals’ Day.

Around the world, communities will hold events and candlelit vigils to remember animals put to sleep due to overbreeding and abandonment.

The annual event was launched 11 years ago by the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) as a means of raising public awareness of the consequences of failing to spay or neuter pets, and draws support in many countries.

In the US it is estimated up to three million healthy dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are euthanized every year due to ‘pet overpopulation’.

In Bermuda, most homeless dogs are rehomed quickly through the SPCA, but there is not as much demand for cats and kittens.

The Bermuda SPCA currently has 13 adult cats looking for a home, plus kittens.

The island also has a feral cat problem, although this is kept in check by the BFAB, which has feeding stations and a spay/neuter programme across Bermuda.

A BFAB spokeswoman said: “Because of our climate, cat breeding can quickly get out of hand, with the season lasting all year round.”

She said cat owners who failed to get their pets spayed/neutered only added to the problem, as litters of kittens were then dumped and abandoned.

“The BFAB has got a handle on the neutering of the feral cats but cats being born in people’s backyards are not necessarily being neutered, so before they know it these cats are having litters of their own.

“It’s difficult for people in this economic climate to get an animal neutered because of the cost but unless they do so, they end up with another five kittens. This then just exacerbates the problem, so we all need to take action on this.”

The BFAB will be in the Washington Mall tomorrow between 10am to 2pm, with information on how to get your cat spayed or neutered.

Volunteers will hand out poems and ‘The 10 Commandments’ of pet care, plus children’s colouring posters.

The spokeswoman said: “We hope to raise awareness about the need for spaying and neutering.

“We will also be asking people to remember the homeless animals and encouraging them to light a candle at home. They will be joining people around the world in this commemoration.

“The candle is the ISAR’s symbol and aims to ‘shed a light’ on the global cat and dog overpopulation.”

This summer the BFAB is also running a poster art competition to mark its 21st anniversary.

Junior artists are invited to create a poster on the theme, ‘The Importance of Neutering Cats’. The entry fee is a bag of Whiska’s dry food and the deadline is 3:30pm, August 28.

Posters must be between 8.5 x 11 inches and 25 x 36 inches, with all mediums (paint, pencil, charcoal, etc.) accepted.

Submit your entries to Dunkley’s, Vesey Street, Devonshire (open Monday to Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm, closed 12-1pm), or the BSoA, City Hall, Hamilton on August 28 (before 3:30pm).

The winners will be announced at the opening of the BSoA art show on August 30, 5-7pm, where entrants’ artwork will be displayed until September 17. The contest is sponsored by Whiskas cat food and youngsters have chances to win prizes from DNA Creative Shoppe.

 

For more on International Homeless Animals’ Day, pick up a copy of today’s Bermuda Sun and the Animal Tales supplement. For more on the BFAB see www.bfab.bm