Who We Are
The Okanagan Humane Society (OHS) is a Registered Canadian Charity # 1083005-54 committed to spaying and neutering pets to limit pet overpopulation. OHS operates in all communities of the Okanagan Valley and relies only on community grants and donations to fund its work.
What We Do
OHS operates two primary programs:
- Owned-Animal Program: OHS assists low-income families with access to low cost spay/neuter/vaccine/deworm and permanent identification and necessary veterinary care for their pets. This program is subsidized by our 35 veterinary partners in the Okanagan.
- Rescue Program: OHS works with community partners to spay/neuter and provide veterinary care for feral, abandoned, stray and homeless cats. OHS also works to provide safe homes for these animals in need through fostering and adoptions. We are 100% foster home based and do not operate a shelter. Therefore, intake is limited to availability of foster homes. New Volunteer foster homes for cats and kittens are always needed and greatly appreciated.
Why We Do It
OHS’s two primary programs are aimed at preventing pet overpopulation in the Okanagan, with particular emphasis on cats being prolific breeders when left to roam unsterilized. There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 feral, abandoned, lost and homeless cats and kittens in the Okanagan Valley. Most live short, sickly lives succumbing to the elements, starvation, predation and disease. Few communities have cat bylaws in place and therefore cats are left to roam and breed unchecked, causing massive feral colonies often starting from single unsterilized pets giving birth to litters outside.
Spaying or neutering a cat reduces the number of unwanted kittens. Even feral animals can live longer, better lives in the wild if they are not constantly reproducing. They actually serve an important rodent management role in our cities and farms communities. Therefore, caring for our ‘Community Cats’ can be a benefit to all.
Females, as young as six months of age, can have kittens, often getting pregnant again before the first batch of babies is even weaned. Constant litter-bearing produces kittens with birth defects, and a myriad of communicable feline diseases that can spread to other pets and shortens the life spans of the mother to often as little as 18 months.
Males fight bitter battles for territories, breeding rights and food. Serious wounds often occur and, because of the poor health of the animal, lead to lingering death. A cat who can’t hunt will starve.
Roaming cats often become the hunted, attracting predators such as coyotes and cougars into our cities and rural areas in search of a meal.
The health of these animals is important. They provide an essential service. The Okanagan’s mild climate means that rodents of various types also breed rapidly, threatening the produce of farms, orchards, and wineries. Cats help keep that population in check.
Cats and kittens are not disposable – no animal should be unwanted.
The Volunteers and Members of the Okanagan Humane Society want to express their thanks to the CanFel Foundation of Guelph, Ontario for their generous support of our work to stop cat overpopulation here in the Okanagan.
Central Okanagan Foundation has also stepped forward with a generous 3 year commitment of funds to help with the OHS Community Cat TNR Program. “The Central Okanagan Foundation is a community foundation providing an ongoing contribution to the quality of life in our community through building endowments, grant making and community leadership. We bring donors and charities together to provide for the needs of the community today, tomorrow and forever.”
We are also grateful for the funding received under the BC SPCA Community Animal Spay/Neuter Grant. The support of these organizations also means more animals are being saved every year.