As cute as the tiny feral kittens in her Duncan pet store are, Carmen Morris would like to be seeing a lot fewer of them.

The shop is trying to find homes for the seemingly endless supply of feral cats being brought in year after year.

“We’ve done 70 kittens last year,” said Carmen Morris, a worker at Duncan Pets.

“And this is just the first litter this year and we’ve got another six coming.”

Those not brought in by rescues are being fed in bushes throughout North Cowichan.

“They’re scattered all over the place really,” said North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring.

“It’s all over the municipality.”

If not neutered or spayed, the cats quickly turn into feral colonies that are reproducing season after season.

So the district is stepping up its bylaw for cats that are allowed outdoors by making spay neuter programs mandatory for those animals to prevent unwanted litters of kittens.

“I was so, so pleased,” said Morris.

Siebring said the change needed.

“To have them spayed and neutered so those cats don’t contribute to the feral cat problem by breeding in the wild,” said Siebring.

The program would also require all outdoor cats be ID’d with a tattoo or microchip and if seized outdoors, it would cost owners $100 to get them back from animal control if their cat is not spayed or neutered.

Seventy-five dollars would be reimbursed once the owner proved the cat had been spayed or neutered.

North Cowichan is expected to adopt the new bylaw May 1.

Skye Ryan