An influx of more than 30 feral cats has prompted a local cat shelter to put a call out for adoption.
Katie’s Place, the Maple Ridge-based no-kill cat shelter, saw more than 30 feral cats earlier this year, 24 of which came from a single place. A senior volunteer, Magda Romanow, told The News that a business feeding a street cat called earlier this year to have the shelter take away the cat and the many kittens it had.
“People feed these cats out of kindness or because they are not bothersome, but then these cats give birth to kittens and these essentially become street cats, often, feral. We are more than happy if people are OK with these cats roaming out and about, but let us first fix them so they don’t lead to kittens,” she said.
The shelter put out a call for adoption on July 5 and only one cat has been adopted so far.
“Feral cats are difficult to adopt. Some of them could be friendly but most are street cats, scared, aloof or sometimes aggressive. They are not meant for petting and would either scratch or just run away. Most people don’t realize that these are feral, essentially wild animals,” said Romanow.
The shelter has roughly 70 cats at the moment, a large number of which are feral cats. People coming in for the adoption are mostly wanting cats that are friendly or those that can be played with. When they think feral cats, they think they would be perfect for barn cats but also for petting, said the senior volunteer.
“If you put a feral cat in the barn, the cat will love it and will be good at catching those mice but there is no guarantee that it will be domesticated,” she said, adding that when a person brings a feral cat home, it needs to be confined to a room, or restricted to an indoor area for a while before it is let out as otherwise it will run away.
Romanow said that there were feral colonies everywhere. Surrey has a large number of these feral colonies, and Maple Ridge has a few of these too, she said.
Romanow has some tips on what to do about cats roaming around in a neighborhood. The first thing she suggests is putting out water during summer months. After this, the next step is to call up a shelter or SPCA to come in and take the stray or feral. The cats then will be taken away to at least be neutered and spayed.
“Some people want these cats back in their neighbourhood and that’s great for us, but at least let us fix them,” she said.
Romanow is urging people send her an email through the shelter’s website, before coming in for an appointment not just for COVID but also so she can manage expectations and ensure people are aware that these feral cats are essentially wild animals and might not necessarily be what they are looking for.
“Some of these cats have been abandoned from their homes and have lived on the streets for a while, and they suddenly realize that ‘Hey! Humans aren’t so bad’ and they come around, but we can’t guarantee that for sure,” she said.
The cats that won’t get adopted or won’t come around, will go to one of the volunteer’s places where there’s a fenced-in outdoor area.
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