Our sudden summer-like weather accelerated cat breeding season and all at once CatSpan was receiving calls from many Oceanside residents asking for our help with feral and free-roaming cats. Feral cats become more noticeable during mating season when cat-calling, fighting, spraying and aggressive behaviour increases. CatSpanâ€™s first and immediate priority is to TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) female cats hopefully before they become pregnant or give birth. Prevention is the key ingredient to maintaining or reducing the feral and free-roaming cat population. CatSpan trappers are always mindful if the female cat they are trapping already has kittens needing to be fed. This is not always easy as most litters are well hidden. Sometimes trappers find the kittens first and then look for the mother cat.
Cats go to school
Remember these kittens from our November 2012 letter? Well, some of these feral kittens were part of a trial student-foster program for feral kittens. Hereâ€™s their storyâ€¦
A feline foster-mom and teacher at Springwood Middle School suggested bringing feral foster kittens into her classroom for the students to help socialize. Feral kittens from a Whiskey Creek farm colony and a Parksville colony (see pictures) that CatSpan trapped were brought into the classroom each day and looked after by the students. The interaction with the students helped the kittens to feel comfortable in noisy and busy settings enabling adoption sooner than would have been possible at regular foster homes. Sometimes, in a regular foster setting, feral kittens are never socialized and must be returned to the colony they were trapped from. This successful foster program was captured on film by a Qualicum student and photographer Anton Seaman and the link to his video is: http://bit.ly/11j5gSj. The school foster program is about 3 minutes into the video, although we recommend you watch and enjoy the entire video.
This is a wonderful example of a combined community effort to help cats in need. Volunteers from CatSpan, Qualicum Cat Rescue and Springwood Middle School together helped save these feral kittens from a difficult outdoor life and find good homes for them. The good news is this school foster program will carry on whenever more feral kittens need to be socialized.
Is dinner ready?
Feral mother and daughter (sometimes referred to as free-roaming cats) Copper and Penny were looking for a new place to call â€œhomeâ€ after their previous care-giver moved away. CatSpan volunteers were called in to trap, neuter and find them a new home. Fortunately, we found a willing neighbour to feed and shelter them once they were fixed. Now, they have made themselves right at home and are well loved and cared for by Gail and her husband. They even let Gail touch them.
Another example of how well free-roaming cats can cohabitate with residents who are able to give them love, food and shelter. A Happy Tail indeed!
Large cat colony
The largest CatSpan TNR project so far this year was an Errington property where the residents worked with CatSpan to trap a colony of 22 feral cats & kittens that had accumulated on the property over a 2 year period. The property owners kindly offered to care for the colony after the cats had been fixed and monitor it for newcomers. Because CatSpan was called early in the spring we were able to prevent more litters of kittens born into this colony.
This is Vicar using a CatSpan-built feeder as a day-time resting spot.
Cats may not know how to add or subtract but
they sure can multiply!
The difference spaying one female cat can
make is exponential
Studies show that after neutering, cats become healthier and gain weight. Outdoor cats in managed colonies even live longer thanks to TNR. One study of a TNR program found that at the end of a 10-year period, 83% of the cats in the managed colonies had been residing in those colonies for more than six yearsâ€”indicating a lifespan comparable to the 7.1-year lifespan of pet cats. Please see the Alley Cat Allies links in the â€˜For more informationâ€™ section of this newsletter about the benefits of TNR.
Calling all volunteers!
CatSpan is growing rapidly and so is the number of cat colonies we provide food and shelter for. In order to keep pace with our increasing number of colonies we are in need of volunteers willing to:
feed feral cat colonies
trap, neuter & return
provide warm/dry places for cats to recuperate after surgery
transport cats to & from vet clinics
help organize fundraising events
We will train you. Our volunteers meet once or twice a month for social and informative gatherings. Email email@example.com if you are interested in volunteering with CatSpan.
Warm "Thanks" to
Dorothy Dinham, Joyce McLeod and Catâ€™s Alive Society (Deb Shogan and Billie Hatton) for their incredibly generous bequest donation. Dorothy will be fondly remembered by CatSpan volunteers and the Oceanside community for her love of cats.
Bosleyâ€™s â€“ Parksville (Sue, Keri, Brianne & staff) for including CatSpan in their local animal rescue programs.
Wembley Mallfor allowing CatSpan to use their mall space for our book sale.
Errington female cat released
Time for a nap after a big meal
Mother and daughter racing to dinner
Red Skelton enjoying dinner
Annual book and garage sale
CatSpan held its annual spring Book and Garage Sale at the end of March 2013. Once again, because of loyal customers and donors we were able to raise $6,400.
Thank you to all of you who donated books and garage sale items and to those who attended. We enjoyed meeting you, hearing your cat stories and we hope to see you again next year.
Weâ€™re already collecting books for next year, so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have garage sale items you would like to donate. We couldnâ€™t do it without your amazing support!
NEW! Book drop off box in Nanoose at Winestine Wine Works (Red Gap) â€“ THANK YOU Albert!
Dry cat food â€“ we predict weâ€™ll be feeding 40 colonies by 2015. You can buy and donate food at most local pet food stores. Look for the CatSpan food donation box.
Q-Points â€“ when you shop at Quality Foods, ask to have your Q-Points donated / transferred to CatSpan. We use Q-Points to buy items for our fundraising events.
Thrifty Foods Smile Card - Thrifty Foods donates 5% of what you spend using your Thrifty Foods Smile Card. Email email@example.com to receive your card.
Donations of cans & bottles at the Parksville Bottle & Recycling Depot(make sure you tell them your cans & bottles are for CatSpan!)
Will you help feral cats?
While charitable giving at any time of the year is great, the best way to give is throughout the year. Not only is it convenient and easier to budget, but CatSpan is able to count on donations coming in all year long. Atwww.CanadaHelps.org you can easily set up secure monthly donations & receive 1 receipt for the year.
Visa and CanadaHelps.org team up to make your monthly donations a little sweeter.
If you prefer, we gladly accept cheques and post-dated cheques.
Please mail donations to:
PO Box 64, Nanoose Bay, BC V9P 9J9
If you witness animal abuse or cruelty please call
1-855-622-7722 (1-855-6BC-SPCA) the Animal Cruelty Hotline at the BCSPCA
The call centre is open seven days per week from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. If this is an animal emergency outside of these hours, please contact your local police department or RCMP.
Remembering feline companions, friends, & family
through donations to CatSpan
For more information
If you are interested in learning more about how to help feral and free-roaming cats please check out the following links: