As an animal lover, you may have heard that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Many of our beloved friends face cruelty and abuse—whether it’s intended or not. It’s our collective responsibility to stand up and raise awareness about health and wellness issues facing animals, especially since they can’t speak up for themselves. Knowing the signs of abuse and what to do if you suspect a cat—or any animal—is being abused is the first step to preventing cruelty to animals.
What are signs of abuse?
The most apparent signs include:
Poor skin, coat, or paw condition, including extremely matted coats, or a cat infested with fleas and ticks
Extremely thin and bony
Untreated wounds, open sores, or red rashes
Limping or unexplained fractures
Cats who cower in fear when approached by their owners
Indications of cat hoarding, which can include overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions
What can I do to help?
If you suspect that a cat or other animal is being abused, call the BC SPCA animal abuse hotline at 1-855-622-7722 right away. Don’t confront the owner. Provide the BC SPCA with a detailed description or evidence. The information will help in investigations, ensuring that cats can be removed from an abusive or neglectful home. The hotline is open 8 am to 6 pm, seven days per week (closed on statutory holidays). For an animal emergency outside of these hours, please contact your local police department or RCMP.
For stray and homeless cats, contact your local animal rescue organization right away. Our SurreyCats trap-neuter-return/rehome program provides cats with medical or dental treatment as well as spay/neuter surgery. If you see a stray cat in your Surrey neighbourhood, please call our message line at 778-589-8552 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s important to educate not only ourselves on what animal abuse looks like and what to do but also our family and friends. There are times when cruelty and abuse may be unintentional, so sharing information on best practices is crucial.
Be a voice for animals. Support local rescue organizations and share their good work with others. Encourage people to spay and neuter their pets or choose to adopt an abused or neglected cat. Be part of the solution!
If you see an animal in distress, take action. Since cats can’t speak up for themselves, it’s up to you to speak for them. Don’t assume that someone else will take care of the situation.
For more information, visit the BC SPCA animal cruelty page.