2024 Media Releases

2024

Heat Spike Poses a Danger to Ottawa’s Pets (June 5, 2024)
Caution Outdoors to Avoid Pet Emergencies, Ottawa Humane Society Urges (May 27, 2024)
Ottawa Humane Society Speaks Out Against Animal Cruelty in Bull Riding Competition (May 17, 2024)
25 Cats Admitted to Ottawa Humane Society as Kitten Season Ramps Up (May 10, 2024)
Love Blooms at the Ottawa Humane Society (May 10, 2024)
Senior Cat Adoption Fee Dropped at Ottawa Humane Society (April 19, 2024)
Donations to Ottawa Humane Society Doubled (April 18, 2024)
“Heroes for Ottawa’s Animals” Ottawa Humane Society Celebrates National Volunteer Week (April 15, 2024)
Protecting Pets in the Spring (April 9, 2024)
New OHS Program Gives Homeless Rabbits Second Chances with Teens (March 27, 2024)
Ottawa Humane Society Launches Lottery to Support the Animals (Feb. 16, 2024)
Unseasonable Surge of Pets and Slow Adoption Rate Rock Ottawa Humane Society (Feb. 9, 2024)
Fall in Love at the Ottawa Humane Society (Feb. 7, 2024)
Ottawa Humane Society Seeking New Board Members (Feb. 2, 2024)
Helping Pet Owners Handle Post-Pandemic Anxiety — Ottawa Humane Society (Jan. 29, 2024)
Ottawa Humane Society Urges Pet Owners to Take Caution During Cold Snap (Jan. 16, 2024)

Heat Spike Poses a Danger to Ottawa’s Pets

June 5, 2024 — High temperatures forecasted for Ottawa today pose a great danger to pets left alone in cars, warns the Ottawa Humane Society.

“Dogs die in hot cars,” said Sharon Miko, OHS President & CEO. “Temperatures in vehicles rise extremely quickly — even with windows open. Pets can overheat, leading to brain damage and even death.”

The temperature is expected to reach the 30s today, and will pose a great danger to pets left in vehicles.

If you see an animal alone in a vehicle with the owner nowhere in sight, dial 911. Signs of heatstroke in dogs include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Heavy panting
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Weakness or muscle tremors
  • Unconsciousness
  • Glazed eyes
  • Convulsions

“High temperatures can quickly kill an animal left alone in a car,” said Miko. “If you’re running an errand, leave your pet at home. Don’t take the risk. It’s a choice that could make the difference between life and death for your best friend.”

The OHS has also released a video PSA to remind the community to protect dogs from hot cars.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Caution Outdoors to Avoid Pet Emergencies, Ottawa Humane Society Urges

May 27, 2024 — After a recent incident involving pills found in pieces of bread in Orleans, the Ottawa Humane Society is reminding pet owners to be vigilant when taking their pets outdoors. If a pet consumes an unknown substance, seeking immediate veterinary care is often in the animal’s best interest.

“It’s disturbing to hear about what may have been a deliberate attempt to poison animals in Orleans,” said Sharon Miko, OHS President & CEO. “It’s a stark reminder to be cautious of what our pets are picking up outdoors, as there are many other substances and items, often left without harmful intent, that could jeopardize your pet’s health.”

The OHS has a list of common, and sometimes unexpected, poisons that affect animals. Poison is not the only item that could hurt a pet when consumed — everyday objects like rocks, plastic and more can cause issues.

“Many non-food items can very easily block an animal’s digestive tract if ingested,” said Dr. Shelley Hutchings, OHS Chief Veterinarian. “Immediate veterinary care can be the difference between life and death for the pet.”

The OHS recommends always keeping dogs and cats supervised on a non-extendable leash and harness while outdoors. When visiting an off-leash dog park, scan the area for items that may be a danger to your pet before letting your dog off-leash. If a pet ingests an unknown object or substance, seek immediate veterinary care.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Ottawa Humane Society Speaks Out Against Animal Cruelty in Bull Riding Competition

May 17, 2024 — The Ottawa Humane Society is asking the community to not attend or support the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) competition coming to the Canadian Tire Centre in June.

The OHS is against the use of animals in entertainment or acts that may cause physical or psychological harm to the animal. Bulls used in the event are forced into a state of distress from the rider on their back and a flank strap tied around their lower bellies that is tightened to cause agitation as the bull enters the arena.

“Promoters claim the bulls are ‘born to buck’ and refer to the animals as ‘athletes.’” Said Sharon Miko, OHS President & CEO. “PBR has painted an illusion of these bulls being willing and enthusiastic participants when in fact people have gathered in these arenas to cheer at a creature who is stressed and agitated.”

It’s not only the stress that hurts bulls used in PBR’s events. A 2017 study showed that bulls who buck are more likely to develop horn and sinus disorders and musculoskeletal disorders than their non-bucking counterparts.

In 2023, a poll revealed that 76% of Canadians do not support events like PBR that use animals for entertainment.

In a 2023 community consultation that received more than 3,000 responses from Ottawa’s residents, 94% shared that advocacy from the OHS to protect animals from cruelty and neglect is a priority. It is clear the PBR event does not align with the values of Ottawa’s community. The OHS is calling for Ottawa to sign a petition, not attend the event and show that animal cruelty has no place in the city.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

25 Cats Admitted to Ottawa Humane Society as Kitten Season Ramps Up

May 10, 2024 — Yesterday, 25 cats, 18 of which were kittens, were admitted to the Ottawa Humane Society. The majority of the cats were found outdoors as strays and brought to the OHS by members of the public.

“Spring and summer are some of the busiest seasons at the OHS,” said Dr. Shelley Hutchings, OHS Chief Veterinarian. “The warmer weather signals to cats that it’s time to breed and this leads to an influx of kittens and mother cats in our care.”

Among the new arrivals, the OHS received a mother cat, Blair, and her six newborn kittens, and five other kittens between the ages of three and six months who are suffering from upper respiratory infections, commonly known as cat colds. The kittens all need spay/neuter surgeries and are placing additional strain on the OHS’s resources.

“We admit thousands of cats each year, and we don’t turn away any animal in distress — no matter how many,” said Sharon Miko, OHS President & CEO. “Our goal is to provide these kittens the care they need and to find a new home for them as soon as possible.”

The OHS encourages those who are looking for a new cat to consider adopting a homeless cat from the OHS. A donation to the OHS also supports the daily care and sterilization surgery that each kitten needs.

The OHS strongly encourages cat owners to keep their cats indoors unless on a leash and harness or in the safety of an enclosed catio, and to spay/neuter their pets. Both steps help reduce cat overpopulation and protect cats from the many dangers of the outdoors.

Photos of Blair and her kittens, and the five cats suffering from upper respiratory infections are available for media use.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Love Blooms at the Ottawa Humane Society

May 10, 2024 — The Ottawa Humane Society is inviting the community to leap into spring with Ottawa’s animals. On Saturday, May 11, Petals and Paws, a sweet event for the whole family, is happening at the OHS. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., lots of family fun is planned for the day including:

  • A spring plant sale;
  • Flowerpot crafts;
  • Animal-safe gardening tips;
  • Making seasonal frozen yogurt treats for shelter dogs;
  • A spring flower photo station; and,
  • Viewing and learning about the animals at the OHS; and more!

Petals and Paws will be happening at the Ottawa Humane Society on 245 West Hunt Club Road. Registration is $2 per person or $5 per family (up to three kids).

The OHS welcomes donations to support this spring fun and Ottawa’s animals.

More information and registration is available on the OHS’s website or through OHS supervisor: programs at programs@ottawahumane.ca or 613-725-3166 ext. 298.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Senior Cat Adoption Fee Dropped at Ottawa Humane Society

April 19, 2024 — The Ottawa Humane Society has removed the adoption fee for all cats seven years of age and up. The OHS expects removing the fee will help these often overlooked pets find loving forever homes even faster.

“Historically, older cats are the pets who have the hardest time finding their perfect match,” said Carley Davidson, OHS Senior Manager: Operations. “We want these cats to spend their golden years with a family who loves them.”

There are currently five senior cats available for adoption at the OHS and one has been in the shelter since January.

“Kitten season is right around the corner,” explained Davidson. “There will soon be many kittens who need new homes, which means some of our older cats will have an even harder time finding their perfect match.”

The OHS states that adopting an older pet has many benefits, including knowing the pet’s personality, the pet will likely be more calm than their younger counterparts and that it takes a long time for a pet to be as sweet as a senior.

All adoptable cats are available on the OHS’s website.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Donations to Ottawa Humane Society Doubled

April 18, 2024 — The OHS is approaching its busiest season of the year, and is turning to the community to help support the thousands of animals who will need its care this spring and summer.

Donations made towards the Ottawa Humane Society will be doubled today to provide shelter and care for these many animals.

“It’s incredible how our community has rallied to save lives and help complete so many families,” said Sharon Miko, OHS President & CEO. “If you’ve ever thought about donating to help Ottawa’s most vulnerable pets, there’s never been a better time to make a huge difference.”

The OHS relies on community support to provide life-saving surgeries, medications and care for Ottawa’s animals.

The extra support goes a long way for animals like Panda, a 10-week-old puppy who arrived at the OHS lost and alone with nowhere else to turn. She was sluggish and had very low energy, possibly from suffering trauma while she was fending for herself. The OHS veterinary team closely monitored her and supported her recovery. In OHS care, she made a full recovery, received a spay surgery and will soon be starting the search for her forever home.

Donations will be matched up to $120,000 by a group of generous donors. Visit the Ottawa Humane Society’s website to double your impact.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

“Heroes for Ottawa’s Animals” Ottawa Humane Society Celebrates National Volunteer Week

April 15, 2024 — For National Volunteer Week, the Ottawa Humane Society will be celebrating the contributions of its close to 800 volunteers.

“Our volunteers are lifesavers,” said Heather Kotelniski, OHS Manager: Volunteers. “They are involved in everything the OHS does, from caring for the animals, providing loving foster homes and even some administration tasks.”

From animal enrichment volunteers, to helping hands at the OHS pet food bank, to volunteers who help comfort animals waking up from surgery — volunteers are involved in every aspect of the OHS.

Recently, the OHS expanded its volunteer offerings for youth by introducing a youth foster volunteer program. These youth provide a loving, temporary home for a rabbit in need and learn skills to become the best pet owners possible.

All volunteer opportunities are available on the OHS’s website.

Interviews with OHS volunteers may be arranged upon request.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Protecting Pets in the Spring

April 9, 2024 — The Ottawa Humane Society is advising the community to be wary of spring hazards for their pets.

As temperatures rise, cat owners living in apartments may be tempted to let their pets onto their balcony. Cats often seek out perches in high, dangerous places and if watching a bird, cats have been known to become so focused that they will step out onto thin air — a sometimes deadly phenomena known as High-Rise Syndrome.

Unless in an enclosed “catio,” cats should never be left outside without a leash and harness and constant supervision. If a cat falls from a balcony, the owner should not assume that their pet has been killed, they should not give up on looking for their pet and they should call their veterinarian immediately.

High-Rise Syndrome is only one of the dangers warmer temperatures pose to pets.

During the spring, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes are a danger to pets. The OHS urges people to keep their dogs on a leash when near these bodies of water, as dogs can easily fall through ice or be stranded on a piece of ice that breaks away from a shoreline.

When close to any body of water, slippery and unstable streambanks can lead to dangerous conditions for pets and their owners.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

New OHS Program Gives Homeless Rabbits Second Chances with Teens

March 27, 2024 The OHS recently launched a brand new program that gives Ottawa’s youth the experience of caring for OHS rabbits in their homes as foster volunteers, while earning community service hours required to graduate from high school.

Nine rabbits went home with eager teens last weekend for the launch of the Youth Foster Program. Before meeting their foster bunnies, the youth participated in an in-depth educational workshop where they learned all the basics of caring for rabbits. They were sent home with all the supplies they need to take care of their foster rabbits, who will stay with them for up to 40 days.

“This is truly a win-win program,” said Heather Hunter, director: outreach & community services at the OHS. “Our rabbits get a break from the shelter environment and teens get the chance to learn about rabbits while benefiting from the companionship of a furry friend,” she said. “For the OHS, the opportunity to reach youth with messaging about responsible pet ownership through this program is amazing. We know that pets offer many benefits to our lives, including emotional support and reduced stress levels – being able to share that with our future generation of pet owners is fantastic.”

Youth will earn hours towards their Ontario Community Involvement graduation requirement – one hour per day to account for the care and enrichment they provide. While parents provide oversight, the daily animal care and reporting requirements are the youth’s responsibility.

The program comes at a critical time: the OHS has seen a steady rise in rabbit admissions over the past few years and has been struggling to provide for their daily care needs. There are more than 25 rabbits currently in the care of the OHS, most of whom are ready for adoption but just haven’t met their match yet. “At the same time,” says Hunter, “we have teens calling all the time looking for a way to be involved with the OHS. So this program helps the bunnies, it helps the kids – truly a win-win.”

The program, in its pilot phase, is not currently recruiting new volunteers, but interested youth are welcome to learn more about the program and put their name on a waitlist for the next opening.

Photos are available upon request.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Gillian Lemieux, Acting Manager: Communications
marketing@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Ottawa Humane Society Launches Lottery to Support the Animals

Feb. 16, 2024 — Tickets are now available for the Ottawa Humane Society’s For the Love of Animals Lottery.

The grand prize is a brand new 2024 Audi Q5 Progressiv 45 TFSI Quattro Luxury SUV by Audi West Ottawa.

Other great early bird prizes include a $5,900 custom jewelry couple’s engagement set drawn on Tuesday, Feb. 27 and one-of-a-kind architect-designed cat condo and dog bed, designed by Kariouk Architects, drawn on Wednesday, March 7. Lottery participants will also be able to purchase tickets for the Bonus 50/50 cash draw.

Proceeds from the lottery will provide life-saving care for the thousands of animals the OHS cares for each year.

“Our community is fantastic and always willing to support animals who desperately need their help,” says Lori Marcantonio, OHS director: development. “It’s always exciting to provide opportunities for our supporters to help the animals.”

Funds raised from the lottery will help animals like Pretzel, an 11-month-old cat who was found lost and alone with a badly injured leg. He needed life-saving care at the OHS to remove his leg and ensure he could live his best, pain-free life.

Tickets are on sale until Thursday, March 28, and can be purchased at: ForTheLoveLottery.ca.

Only people 18 years of age or older who are in Ontario at the time of purchase may purchase tickets.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Unseasonable Surge of Pets and Slow Adoption Rate Rock Ottawa Humane Society

Feb. 9, 2024 — Last month, the Ottawa Humane Society saw a spike of pets in need with 15% more animals arriving at the shelter compared to January 2023. The trend is continuing into February with more than 100 animals admitted in the past week.

“We’re seeing a wide variety of animals who need our help,” said Dr. Shelley Hutchings, OHS Chief Veterinarian. “Whether found lost and alone as strays or brought to us by heartbroken families who have made the incredibly difficult decision to give up their pet, there are many animals who need veterinary care, behavioural support shelter and day-to-day love and attention at the OHS.”

While population is on the rise, fewer animals were adopted last month, a 23% decrease compared to January 2023.

“The slowdown in adoptions is unfortunate, but not surprising,” said Stephen Smith, OHS Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications. “We recently surveyed the community to find out the greatest needs of Ottawa’s pets and their people. Overwhelmingly, Ottawa identified the cost of caring for a pet as the most important issue. Families may be worried about being able to provide for a new pet financially and are more hesitant to bring a furry friend home.”

Animals are also spending more time in the shelter before finding their forever home — placing a significant strain on the OHS’s resources and causing some of the long-stay animals to become stressed.

“The shelter can be a tough place for a dog with behaviour challenges,” said Heather Kotelniski, OHS Manager: Volunteers. “There’s lots of activity, strange smells and noises, and they don’t have the companionship a home provides. We rely heavily on caring foster volunteers to give the animals a temporary home while they wait for their forever family.”

Among the many animals at the OHS, there are 13 dogs who need a foster home.

With rising costs threatening to separate pets from their families, the OHS is working to enhance and expand its community services including its Emergency Pet Food Bank, Mobile Spay/Neuter Service and wellness clinics.

To support Ottawa’s homeless animals, making a donation, fostering a dog in need, or adopting a new pet are all ways the community can make a big difference.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Fall in Love at the Ottawa Humane Society

Feb. 7, 2024 — The Ottawa Humane Society is inviting the community to fall in love with Ottawa’s homeless animals. On Sunday, Feb. 11, Tails of Love, a sweet event for the whole family, is happening at the OHS. From 1 to 4 p.m. lots of family fun is planned for the day including:

  •       Princess Meet & Greet and Storytime;
  •       Valentine’s Day crafts;
  •       Craft sale supporting Ottawa’s homeless animals;
  •       Children and youth drawing contest;
  •       Face painting;
  •       Meeting and learning with an OHS Program Dog;
  •       And more!

Tails of Love will be happening at the OHS on 245 West Hunt Club Road.

The OHS welcomes donations to support this Valentine’s Day fun and Ottawa’s animals.

More information and registration is available on the OHS’s website or through OHS supervisor: programs at programs@ottawahumane.ca or 613-725-3166 ext. 298.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Ottawa Humane Society Seeking New Board Members

Feb. 2, 2024 — Applications are open for the Ottawa Humane Society’s board of directors until March 22, 2024. The board will play a key role in supporting the OHS as it embarks on its five-year strategic plan in supporting Ottawa’s pets and their people.

The OHS is recruiting for three board positions whose term will begin in September 2024.

The board of directors is crucial to the work of the OHS, providing oversight for the organization to be successful in being a community leader for animal welfare, creating opportunities for young people to learn about animals and compassion, and providing a safe haven for Ottawa’s homeless animals.

“Our board members contribute specific skills to help us advance our mission and reflect varied lived experiences in our community,” said Sharon Miko, OHS President & CEO. “Individuals’ unique perspectives and talents together provide the OHS with direction on how to meet the needs of our community.”

The OHS board of directors serves many purposes. The board helps create the OHS’s mission and purpose, supports and evaluates the President & CEO, participates in strategic planning, monitors and strengthens the OHS’s programs, and many other duties.

Successful candidates will serve on the board for six years. For more information or to apply, visit the OHS’s website or email ceo@ottawahumane.ca.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Helping Pet Owners Handle Post-Pandemic Anxiety — Ottawa Humane Society

Jan. 29, 2024 — The Ottawa Humane Society is launching a special webinar series, Anxiety and Pets: The Essentials, to help pet owners better understand what makes pets anxious and stressed.

The pandemic limited opportunities for families to train and socialize their pets — this webinars series will help pet owners bridge the gap.

“Sometimes families surrender their pets to the OHS when they aren’t able to manage a challenging behaviour,” said Melissa Lefebvre, OHS senior manager: outreach & community services. “Our new webinar series will give families the tools they need to best care for their pet and will ultimately help more families avoid the heartbreaking decision of surrendering their pet.”

The OHS is partnering with renowned experts in veterinary care and animal behaviour. Dr. Karen Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB; Dr. Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD; and Chantal Mills, CSAT will present on how families can better understand their pet’s anxiety.

From better understanding stress and anxiety in pet body language, exploring what makes a pet anxious and supporting dogs who experience separation anxiety, the webinars are packed with essential information for pet owners.

Webinars cost $35 each or $90 for all three. Registrants can save an extra 15% by registering before Feb. 16.

Registration for the webinars and more information is available on the OHS’s website.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca

Ottawa Humane Society Urges Pet Owners to Take Caution During Cold Snap

Jan. 16, 2024 — The temperature is expected to plummet this week, and the Ottawa Humane Society is warning pet owners about the dangers cold weather can pose to pets — especially cats allowed to roam outdoors.

The OHS is encouraging members of the public who find stray cats in the cold to contact 613-725-3166 ext. 223 to ensure the cat can return home safely or to arrange for the cat to be brought to the OHS. If a cat is in danger, call Ottawa By-law Services at 3-1-1.

As well, the OHS urges pet owners to take additional precautions to protect their pets from freezing temperatures:

  • Limit the time dogs spend outside.
  • Take dogs for shorter, more frequent walks, and consider a sweater or coat for the dog.
  • After a walk, wipe the dog’s paws to remove salt, sand and other harmful substances.
  • Monitor outdoor water bowls to ensure the water hasn’t frozen.
  • Avoid leaving pets in a cold car.
  • Be mindful of animals hiding in cars to keep warm. Bang on the hood a couple times to scare away cats and wildlife.

Dogs who live outside are required by law to have an insulated doghouse built from weather-proof material, facing away from prevailing winds. The shelter must be elevated from the ground with a door flap and bedding.

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Media Contact
Ottawa Humane Society
Stephen Smith, Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications
stephens@ottawahumane.ca
www.ottawahumane.ca