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Fisher suspected in cat disappearances

St. Lazare resident Jocelyn Leduc counts thirteen cats missing on her street, Blueberry Forest, since July. 1, including her own family pet.

Leduc has an idea who is responsible – she says some of her neighbours claim to have spotted a fisher on their street.

She is calling on the town of St. Lazare to hire trappers to catch fishers and move them somewhere else.

“I would have liked to have known they were active in my area, I would have fought with my cat to bring him in [at night], I would have taken extra precautions to try and protect him,” says Leduc. “He was like a family member, we are crying over this, we are very sad,” she adds.

Fishers, members of the weasel family, are more than a match for cats, even raccoons.

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Fishers, once rare to the region, are returning as they lose their fear of humans and are learning to feed on family pets.

“They are as big as a big cat but much more vicious,” Blueberry Forest resident Lin Month explains. She lost her own tabby cat named Joey, an old barn cat accustomed to spending the night outside. To prevent her other three house cats from being harmed, Month continues to ensure they sleep inside during the night.

“If it is a fisher, it’s not his fault he’s just trying to survive just like everyone else, doing what nature tells him to do, but it’s quite sad,” she says.

Hudson Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr. Giuditta Mortola doesn’t think the threat of fishers should stop people from letting their cats outside. She lost a cat three weeks ago and doesn’t know what happened to him, but that isn’t stopping her from letting her other cat run free.

“There’s a benefit to letting them out, if it’s done safety,” she explains.

It’s important to make sure the cats are vaccinated, sterilized and chipped in case they ever do get lost and end up at a veterinary clinic or rescue organization.

“I see a lot of healthy cats that can go outside and I think it’s great they can exhibit their normal behaviour,” affirms Mortola. “You have to weight the pros and cons,” she adds.

Also for people who do lose their feline, she suggests they visit all the rescue organizations in the region to try and find them. There is also a St. Lazare website for lost cats at ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/en/chatperdu.

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