Animal organizations partner to help cat colony

Frank Gale fgale@thewesternstar.com
Published on August 20, 2014
The Society for the Care and Protection of Animals in Stephenville is getting assistance from groups outside the province to help a colony of cats. Some of the cats are seen here coming out of a cabin.
Submitted photo

Life is about to change for a colony of cats living on the outskirts of Stephenville.

Gwen Samms of the Society for the Care and Protection of Animals couldn’t say where the colony of more than 60 cats is located, she did say the trap-neuter-return process is underway. Tuesday, one of the cats has already been neutered and underwent an operation for a missing eyeball. The spaying and neutering process will continue in the coming weeks, starting on Monday.

It was in early August that Samms received a call from the caretaker of this large colony of cats, asking for help.

The manager of the society’s shelter in Stephenville was pleased to find the colony in good health, with only one in obvious need of immediate medical care. She said it was imperative that the cats be spayed and neutered as soon as possible to prevent the colony from growing any larger.

Samms said this is a huge undertaking, but she knew the organization had to do whatever was necessary to help the animals.

She said the trap-neuter-return process is one that is used by several animal groups in the province and is the humane and effective approach for dealing with stray and feral cats. Not only does it improve the lives of the cats, it also makes for a better relationship with people in the area and decreases the colony size over time, she said.

The animals are humanely trapped, provided with medical care that includes sterilization and then returned to the colony under the watchful eye of a caretaker.

In this case, Samms said the caretaker is a wonderful person, doing an excellent job in a situation that was not of their making. She said people in the area of this person’s cabin started abandoning cats and the person was concerned for their welfare and began feeding them.

“This person is more than happy to take care of them, but certainly wouldn’t mind seeing some of them adopted out,” Samms said.

Due to the cost of getting the cats sterilized, Samms said she knew she had to reach out for help. On Aug. 12, she contacted Animal Alliance of Canada and spoke to Liz White, board member and fundraising co-ordinator.

The Stephenville society had received assistance from Animal Alliance in the past, so it was the first to come to mind.

On Friday of last week, White advised Samms that Animal Alliance and one other organization, which wishes to remain anonymous, would be funding the “Cabin Kitties Project,” which includes trap-neuter-return, medical care and the construction of an outdoor enclosure which will provide safety and restrict roaming.

Samms says the colony’s caretaker and the society are beyond grateful for the generosity of the out-of-province groups.

She said that anyone wanting adopt one of these cats, which are well cared for, can contact the animal shelter in Stephenville at (709) 643-2811.