By Chris Muise
You may have heard about the recent round-up of several feral cats around a Codroy estate.
The group responsible, called In Memory of Shadow, is responsible for the haul. But the work is hardly done.
“We picked up all the kittens, and never got back to do the adults,” says Velda Tapp-Pretty, the administrator for In Memory of Shadow. “This year, we got back to do the colony, and we took out…I think it's 30. Between 28 and 30, and there's about another 15 still there.”
That's how it goes with unspayed and unneutered feral cats. You start out innocently enough with one cat on the property, maybe a couple of kittens – as the owner of this property did – and soon enough, you've got a clowder on your hands.
Tapp-Pretty has been at this game for about four years now, the last two of which under the umbrella of an official cat rescue society. Before then, the group was little more than an emergency vet fund for cats, inspired by the case of one particular feline.
“There was a cat named Shadow; she was struck by a car, she had her back broke,” says Tapp-Pretty. “She was just walking around, dragging her body, totally paralysed. We raised enough money to take her to Stephenville and have her euthanized.”
The trip was delayed due to the cost of seeing the Stephenville emergency clinic – $500 – and the decision was made to wait until the weekend was over to see a vet during normal work hours. Shadow, however, passed away on her own by Sunday.
The money raised carried forward into an emergency fund, until that money, and the group of cat fanciers around it, evolved organically into a cat rescue group.
They do what they can, according to Tapp-Pretty, despite limited resources.
“We basically started with nothing,” says Tapp-Pretty. “We still haven't got a lot!”
One thing they do have is a shelter, gifted to them by the town of Port aux Basques, and retrofitted out of an old fish plant on the waterfront.
It's not a lot of space – about the size of a one-bedroom apartment, according to Tapp-Pretty – but it enables them to help more cats.
Right now, that shelter's packed to the brim. The Codroy rescue has left them with little room to spare.
“We have a lot of adult cats who need homes,” says Tapp-Pretty. “Now we can't go back until somebody adopts some of our animals. Every cage is full.”
To help free up some room for more kitties, In Memory of Shadow is inviting the community to join them on Aug. 17 at their Pleasant Street location for an open house – or, perhaps more accurately, an open cattery?
“Party on the Wharf, we're calling it,” says Tapp-Pretty. “We're having a big barbecue, music, a big fundraiser. We're hoping to be able to adopt out a lot of animals.”
The shelter will be open regular hours during the event, and they're hoping folks will pop in and take a peek, so the cats can work their magic.
“Sometimes, when you walk into a shelter, they adopt you,” says Tapp-Pretty. “If you're entering a shelter, beware! You might just fall in love.”
If you're unable to adopt, but still wish to support the group, they're also taking donations towards a shelter fund, to build a bigger facility. And of course, you can always donate food, cleaning supplies, and toys.
Go online: Learn more about the In Memory of Shadow group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/258407151156923/