Written by Colony Caregiver: Robin
There are legions of us out there, feral cat colony caregivers they call us. You would mostly recognize us by our cars, filled with cat food, water, traps, shelters and sometimes bales of straw.
I am part of a group that cares for a colony of approximately 20 cats who live in an industrial area in the east end of Toronto. Three to five days a week (other people feed the other days) I load up my car with two trugs of clean bowls, four litre and a half bottles of fresh water, and a whack of canned and hard food and head off to feed the cats.
Our area is large so we feed at several locations. When I arrive at the first one, there are often cats waiting. I swear they know the sound of the car. I use a clicker to call. I move on from one feeding station to the next. One group of seven cats live a relative life of luxury amongst some boats. We bought them a small trailer and outfitted it with cat doors and shelters inside.
Our colony is what is called a managed colony, they are fed every day, we provide shelters and we have trapped almost all the cats and had them spayed or neutered, with the help of Toronto Cat Rescue. Any kittens are socialized and adopted out to great
homes. In 2010 we spayed and neutered 8 cats and adopted out 3 kittens.
I don’t want to romanticize the life of a feral cat. It’s a harsh life. They battle the cold and wet, hunger, predators, and at our colony, trucks. One of our lovely cats, Queenie, who can be seen on the poster for Cat City (our colony was featured in that documentary), was run over by a truck in the fall. Another cat succumbed to injuries probably from a coyote, another just disappeared. We do all that we do to make their lives the best that they can be but feral colonies are a by-product of irresponsible pet ownership. If all cats were spayed and neutered, there wouldn’t be the approximately 100,000 ferals living in Toronto.
What I can do is take care of my colony. Winter, spring, summer and fall, rain, snow and sunshine, I’ll be out feeding my ferals. If you want to read more about my adventures in caring for feral cats, check out my blog Cherry Street Cats.
Would you like to help the cats as well? Please make a donation online via CanadaHelps to put towards the purchase of food and spay/neutering costs for the cats of Cherry Street! If you would like to help care for the cats they are in need of feeders, so please email Robin for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toronto Cat Rescue is hosting a FUNDRAISING meeting on Sunday, February 20th at 1pm! New volunteers are always welcome! If you have great ideas, or are a go-getter who likes to lead, we would love to have you on our team! Please fill in our Volunteer Form and you will be sent more information.
We really need help, as our vet bills have been very high over the last couple of months making sure the cats are healthy for their forever families. As always, thanks a bunch for your help and support!
Like most cat lovers, you probably consider your cat as a member of your family and already have developed a deep bond. Bonding with another being, whether human or four-legged, is one of the best feelings in the world. The unique bond between cats and humans is awesome to behold and even more incredible to experience. Each day brings new pleasures, just by living side-by-side with your beloved companion.
Below are some easy tips on how to grow closer to your cat:
– Greet your cat face to face and exchange scents by patting your kitty.
– Keep your hands out of the way with a nervous cat until she has relaxed (especially if you are unsure if human hands have always been a loving presence in her life… not all cats are lucky). Touch is very important – remember to be gentle.
– Give your kitty short, but frequent bouts of attention to keep both of you fresh and keen for contact.
– Use your cat to relax after a hard day at work or vigorous activity. Stroking slows the heart and lowers blood pressure.
– Chat your worries away and confide your secrets – your cat will never tell and is sensitive to your moods as well.
– Enjoy a loving cuddle to restore self-esteem and a feeling of calm.
– Indulge in giving kitty the odd treat for no reason and revel in the feedback you get!
– Provide kitty with a warm, safe bed (if she is not already using yours). Did you make or purchase a kitty bed that is not being used? Move the location – remember the location is key.