The feline plague persists

Beaver Creek is still overrun by cats. Beat Ledergerber is feeding 30 to 40 strays. “They just come and go through this little door,”…

Beaver Creek is still overrun by cats.

Beat Ledergerber is feeding 30 to 40 strays.

“They just come and go through this little door,” he said last week.

“Whatever we catch we fix. But a lot we can’t catch.

“As soon as we come in to the room where they are eating, they take off.”

The problem started last August when a Beaver Creek resident moved to Whitehorse abandoning several cats, including one that was pregnant.

By December, there were 30 feral cats wandering the community, said local teaching assistant Randi Jestin.

“Now we have cats roaming around with no ears and tails because they froze off during the winter,” she said last week.

Jestin estimates there are 80 stray cats in the community.

“They start having kittens at six months old,” she said.

The feline explosion is luring foxes and bears in to town, added Jestin, who has found a number of kitten tails lying around.

Jestin also came across eight frozen cat carcasses over the course of the winter.

“Winters are vicious,” she said.

“And it’s not OK for animals to live in these barbaric conditions.”

A number of locals are feeding the cats, she said.

And some residents have adopted a few of the strays.

“We have four or five,” said Ledergerber.

Jestin has seven.

Government services tried to catch them in the winter, said Beaver Creek road foreman Rick Weihrs.

Jestin helped set the live traps, but only caught a couple of the animals.

“I see them in my yard travelling back and forth,” said Weihrs.

“I’ve heard there’s a many as 60.

“And if nobody looks after the spaying, I don’t know how many more there’s going to be.”

Many of the cats have distended bellies from hunger and worms, said Jestin.

“These animals feel frostbite and hunger just like we do,” she said.

“And what’s happening to these cats is wrong.

“But there’s nothing to protect animals in the Yukon.”

Originally from small-town Saskatchewan, Jestin is surprised by how animals are treated in the territory.

In Saskatchewan, if animals are abused or abandoned, there are consequence, she said.

“The government needs to deal with this issue,” she said.

“Maybe (Premier Dennis) Fentie would like to come and see these cats — he could take a couple home with him.”