A project to reduce Alexandra’s street cat population is gaining traction, prompting a need for more foster and forever homes.
As a result of the project, led by Central Otago Animal Networkers, about 30 cats and kittens have been rescued since Christmas.
That success rate has started to put a strain on resources, including foster homes where the cats and kittens are kept until a new forever home can be found for them.
Central Otago Animal Networkers founder Victoria Bonham said new members were welcome as the group dealt with the “animal issues” going on in the area, particularly among kittens, and some cats, that “need our help”.
“There’s a lot of cats that are living on the streets. They didn’t choose to live like this. Most of them have been dumped, or have just been lost and . . . made the streets their home,” she said.
“Most of them aren’t desexed so then we have the ongoing problem of them breeding and we get more and more cats living on the streets; and the community is getting more and more intolerant of them. Like I say, it is not their fault that they’re living like this and daily life for them is a real struggle.”
To help combat the issue, the networkers group runs a feeding programme for the stray cats.
“We trap them, neuter them, vaccinate them, de-worm them, give them any sort of medical care that they may need. Most of them are kittens that we are trapping, so we foster them and raise them and socialise them to the point where they are able to be rehomed and make some . . . lovely family members some pets.”
Cats and kittens are also put into quarantine to make sure they are not carrying any viruses, including feline panleukopenia, which is doing the rounds in Central Otago.
Mrs Bonham said although kittens were easier to rehome, some of the adult cats on the streets were also friendly.
All cats were scanned and advertised in the community to ensure any that they were not already someone’s pet.
Any adult cat that was not friendly enough to rehome was put back into the feeding programme “where they will be looked after until their end of days”.
“These are only a very, very few – most of them can be rehomed.”
Mrs Bonham said, overall, the project to get cats off Alexandra’s streets had been an enjoyable one.
“We’ve had so much joy taking on these cats.
“They are full of personality and full of love.”
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