A new chapter of Scaredy Cat Rescue, a group dedicated to helping abandoned cats, recently started up in Port aux Basques.
© Brodie Thomas photo
Holly Jackman holds Dora the kitten, left, while Kat Findlay holds Max. Both kittens are available for adoption from Scaredy Cat Rescue. The cats would need to be fixed when old enough.
Kat Findlay first heard about Scaredy Cat Rescue when two women in Corner Brook started the organization there. She recently adopted one of the 200 cats taken from a single home in that city earlier this year.
Mrs. Findlay knew there were some abandoned and feral cats around Port aux Basques and about a month ago she and her husband Bob set out to catch one on the boardwalk near Scott’s Cove Park.
“She was filthy and she stunk,” said Mrs. Findlay of the kitten. “The only reason she survived is because the men who hang around down there were bringing her cans of food and bologna.”
After that, Mrs. Findlay successfully trapped some kittens in Isle aux Morts.
When she and friends Holly Jackman and Kayla Crocker put notice of Scaredy Cat Rescue on Facebook, the response was overwhelming. She said donations of food and kitty litter poured in overnight.
Ms. Jackman said she got involved because she had helped out the SPCA in the past. The St. James Elementary School teacher and her students raised $900 for the Corner Brook SPCA in the last school year.
“I thought it would be nice to do something locally,” she said.
While Mrs. Findlay said support in donations has been overwhelming, her group is now looking for foster parents and adoptive homes for the cats.
“I’m not in a position to take any more in,” said Mrs. Findlay.
She added that the group is not a shelter, and is not looking to build a shelter. They operate with volunteer foster homes.
Volunteers who agree to foster kittens would take them into their homes temporarily until an adoptee comes forward. Foster parents would be provided with free food and litter. Volunteers are also needed occasionally to transport animals to veterinarians.
People who adopt have to agree to getting kittens spayed or neutered when they are old enough.
Mrs. Findlay said rehabilitating abandoned kittens is fairly simple, but older feral cats can’t be rehabilitated. She said Scaredy Cat Rescue is committed to trap, neuter and return programs.
Under such a program, feral cats are captured in traps. Once spayed or neutered, a cat has its left ear tip cut off to show it has been fixed. It is then re-released into the wild.
She said there are several feral cat populations around the southwest coast. They are not necessarily hazards because the cats tend to avoid people, and provide benefits such as pest control.
The trap, neuter and return programs keep the populations under control, and eventually bring feral cat populations down. Some studies show that feral cats will not let new cats into their territory. When feral cats are trapped and euthanized, new cats simply fill the void, according to Mrs. Findlay.
Ms. Jackman hopes with education and persistence, there will be more loving homes for cats, and fewer animals left out in the cold. She said people need to learn that responsible pet ownership goes well beyond providing a home and some food. Having the animal fixed and providing health care through its life is important too.
“There’s no such thing as a free cat,” she said.
Mrs. Findlay said until more adopters and foster homes come forward, the organization has reached its limit of what it can do for now.
“We do what we can,” she said. “We can’t save them all but we can try to do our best for some.”
Donation jars for Scaredy Cat Rescue have now been placed at many local businesses. There is also a drop-box for cat food and litter at Coleman’s Grocery.
For more information or to volunteer, call 695-6294, or 955-3399. The group also have a Facebook page. Search for Port aux Basques and Area Scaredy Cat Rescue.