Some Canadians struggle to keep their pets

The rising cost of living is making pet ownership a tougher reality for many Canadians.

Linda Felix, the founder and President of Spay Day Society HRM, said her organization has taken in a lot of abandoned cats so far this year.

“More than usual,” Felix said in an e-mail.

“And we’ve had a number surrendered when people lost their housing,” she said, adding they either became homeless, had to move away and could not take the cat or could not find a new apartment that welcomed pets.

The Nova Scotia SPCA is also experiencing a higher demand for services.

More pet owners are turning to the organization’s pet pantry—a food bank for pets that offers food, litter, toys and more.

“Inflation is going up on people food but also animal food,” said Sarah Lyon, Director of marketing and communication with the NS SPCA.

Lyon said calls are also coming in each day from people asking about the SPCA’s Paws & Support program.

A free program that allows animal owners to temporarily place their animals with foster families through the SPCA while they leave domestic violence relationships, are treated in hospital or need help because of short-term housing situations.

“The bulk of the calls that we are receiving for our paws and support are people finding themselves without a home to go to,” Lyon said.

She noted the SPCA does not turn people away who are fleeing domestic violence or need help while in hospital, but the biggest need right now is for people finding themselves unhoused or unable to secure housing that will allow pets.

The organization is having to turn people away because it can’t meet the demand.

“To not be able to help, family, people and their pets is really hard is really hard,” Lyon said. “It’s hard on the staff. It’s hard on the mental health of the staff.”

The SPCA has also experienced a dip in donations and volunteer time.

“We know Nova Scotians are generous and live with the inflation and the cost of living and their time is really important as well. And we hope we’re one of their charities of choice when they can,” Lyon said.

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