CARES’ lone full-time employee Allison Chapman holds Ming, one of the shelter’s resident cats that is suffering arthritis due to the extreme cold that has settled over Langley and the rest of B.C.

Langley cat shelter is really feline the cold

Stretch of sub-zero temperatures is creating challenges at CARES as they work to keep animals warm

The frigid weather that has blanketed B.C. is taking its toll on the CARES cat shelter in Langley.

“Yes, there are more issues now with this freezing weather, and the volunteers are doing all that we can to ensure the comfort and health of our kitty family at the shelter,” said Clive Ellis, chair of CARES’ fundraising committee.

Formed in 1993, Canadian Animal Rescue and Extended Shelter (CARES) provides shelter for stray, abandoned and unwanted cats in a cage-free environment.

There is a no kill policy at CARES, therefore, any animals that are not adopted will be able to live the rest of their natural lives at the shelter.

At the CARES shelter in Milner, inside taps have frozen periodically, which has hampered activities in both the washer/dryer, and sink areas.

As well, volunteers are seeing more incidences of cat arthritis — in two cats in particular, Chloe and Ming — but keeping them as warm as possible at all times eases their discomfort.

On Jan. 2 and 3, a total of 17 cats were surrendered to CARES, for the most part due to the cold weather.

And during the last cold snap, roughly five strays were brought to the shelter, as well as other surrenders. The strays have in some cases crept into a garage or barn in order to stay warm.  Recently, as the snow fell, a three-year-old female tortoiseshell was left at the front of the shelter in a carrier, in what volunteers described as a “dump-and-run.”

“They come to us in a pitiful state sometimes, but it is surprising what good food, warmth and a cuddle does for them,” Ellis said.

Energy costs at the shelter have increased due to the cold, as well.

“We have brought in space heaters for several areas in the shelter which helps a little,” Ellis noted.

CARES treasurer Carol Briner says electricity bills at the shelter can run as high as $700 a month during the winter, “just to keep the place warm and a temperature that’s  livable for the cats.”

Outgoing adoptions have slowed a little in November and December, which affects CARES’ bottom line, and volunteers are appealing to the public to give any help that they can, by either applying to donate a cat or through a donation.

Ellis can be reached directly at cpdruce@shaw.ca or through the shelter at 604-532-5632. Visit CARES online at carescatshelter.com.