Many families across the province have been facing tough times financially for months.


More and more and reaching out, asking for help.


In some cases, people are surrendering their pets, hoping to ease the financial strain any way they can.


Some owners are even abandoning their pets, hoping they can fend for themselves.


Sheri Pister runs the Persian Dreams and Canine Themes Rescue Society and has roughly 50 cats in care, double the usual amount the rescue cares for at one time.


Pister says more owners are surrendering their four-legged family members or leaving them behind.


“It’s a difficult situation,” she said. “Whether we get them turned over to us, or whether they get left at a pet store and we have to go get them, or whether they’re found in an apartment or a house left abandoned.”


The SPCA is seeing the same numbers.


Already this year 230 cats have been surrendered compared to 183 during the same time last year.


In the last three weeks, roughly 30 kittens have been brought in from rural areas.


“We have all of these kittens that have come into care and pretty much all of our rooms in our holding area are full of kittens,” Katie Ayres said, executive director with the local SPCA. “And it’s the end of kitten season right now. Kitten season is usually more May/June. We’re into September and we’re still seeing little baby kittens come in that are three or four weeks old.”


Ayres says owners often have preconceived notions about shelters and choose to abandon their animals instead.


“Sometimes it’s because of embarrassment as well,” she said. “But people also think that if they’re dropping them off in the shelter that they’re just going to be euthanized and that’s not the case.”


“My heart goes out to people that love their animals but feel they actually have to make the decision to abandon them,” Pister said.


Pister has already adopted out about 75 cats this year and expects that number to climb even higher.


“We will easily have brought in and vetted and adopted out well over 100 cats by the end of December,” she said.


In the meantime, she’s devoted to helping every friendly feline that comes her way.


“These little guys would have had a difficult time without proper medical intervention,” she said.