Caring for feral cats for over 20 years...
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The Nanoose Bay cat colony relocation project is complete!   After several months of planning, trapping, vet exams, and transitioning, 30 cats have been relocated to their new barn home in Oceanside…

You may have already heard about the major cat colony relocation project CatSpan recently undertook in Oceanside.  We want to fill you in on the process and let you know how your donations helped us with this monumental relocation task. 
CatSpan has been taking care of a large feral cat colony in Nanoose Bay by providing food and medical attention for approximately 10 years.   It was estimated that the colony consisted of 60 to 70 feral cats before we started the trap-neuter-return process in 2006.  CatSpan spayed/neutered over 40 of these cats in 2006, which just about caused us to go broke!  Luckily, a SPCA grant allowed us to contin
ue to spay/neuter the remaining catsThat, combined with the decreasing numbers due to natural decline, the number of cats was reduced to just over 30 by 2015.  Even at 30 cats, this was a large colony.

The property owner fed the colony until 2012 when they were no longer able to continued doing so.  CatSpan initially set up a feeding station for the cats and then started to feed the cats on a daily basis. 
Early this year, due to pressure from some residents, CatSpan decided to relocate the entire colony.  Finding a suitable relocation area and funds to spay/neuter this many cats seemed like an immense task so in early March 2015, CatSpan volunteers approached the Parksville Qualicum Beach News to gain awareness of the relocation issue.  The response from the community was overwhelming and covered the cost of all the vet bills for the relocated cats plus a new (and much needed) transition unit (the red barn unit pictured below). 
The best news of all, a local couple saw the newspaper article and was willing to invite the whole colony to their acreage in Oceanside!  The local couple had an ideal rural property to safely care for the colony.
Through many hours of trapping the cats individually, eventually all the cats were trapped, underwent spay/neuter, vaccinations, recovery, and released into a transition unit at the new acreage.  The cats were released into the transition unit two or three at a time.  Then after a short period of time, they were released into their new surroundings and provided food. 
Not all the colony was feral, though.  Two cats from the colony were tame enough to be adopted out.  Smokey, named for his beautiful grey coat (pictured below left), was adopted by her foster family, and Goji (pictured below right) was adopted by a CatSpan volunteer.  Both are reported to being doing well.  One of the cats, Waif, was a good candidate for CatSpan’s Barn Cat Relocation Program because she was not well respected with the other cats within the large colony.  
Once the cats were relocated to their new acreage, CatSpan used night vision cameras to tell how many and which cats were returning to the feeder.   Eight of the regulars at the new acreage feeder are easily identifiable due to their unique colouring and includes cats like Arrow, Stripes, Zipper, Mrs. No Tail, Mr. No Tail, Goldie, Horseshoe, Groucho, and Blackie.  There is also a constant stream of cats with similar markings such as the grey and tabby cats at the new property feeder. 
CatSpan is very grateful to the colony’s new caregivers who treat the feral cats like royalty.  The caregivers have started “happy hour” every day at dusk which includes copious amounts of cat nip.  So far, seven of the cats show up at one time (the rest come at night to eat from the feeder) but that number is growing.  On weekends, the new caregivers treat the cats to either home-cooked food or special treats. 
This collaborative project was only possible because of the wonderful support from you, our donors.  This colony has a second chance to live a happy and healthy life because of your contributions and concerns for our community cats.  Thank you. 
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