Neighbours pitch in to help feral felines

PHOTO: Phil Lameira / Beach Metro News

A small group of neighbours on Neville Park Boulevard have joined together in their efforts to help deal with a group of feral cats living on their street.

With donations from neighbours, discounted rates from a gracious veterinarian, advice from Toronto Cat Rescue and trapping assistance from a local veterinarian technician, eight of the nine cats living on the south section of the street have been trapped, neutered and released (‘TNRed’ in Toronto Cat Rescue terminology). The cats were also vaccinated and given flea treatments, and housed in a ‘recovery home’ for a week after their operations.

Neville Park residents Valerie March, Irith McConnachie and Belle Smith and their neighbours have been feeding and taking care of the cats for about a year, since a neighbour passed away leaving behind dozens of cats. Most were captured and destroyed, but the survivors have been making themselves comfortable in the surrounding yards, including McConnachie’s.

McConnachie had been letting the cats live in shelters on her property, most built by concerned neighbours, but was unsure how to do much more than that. She did know that she wanted to protect the cats as best as she could.

“They’re a wonderful family. There’s no fighting, they’re very protective of each other,” she said.

The cats must be doing something right, having so far escaped the wrath of their neighbour to the north, Neville the coyote.

March and Smith helped McConnachie feed the cats, but at one point it was decided further action needed to be taken to prevent the cycle from repeating.

“I would walk past to feed them and thought, ‘we have to find a way to get these cats neutered,’” said March.

She talked to local veterinary offices, and was put in contact with the anonymous trapper who helped with the project. Neighbours donated over $1,000 to the cause, and the crew went to work. Only one stubborn cat remains to be fixed. All had their ears clipped, to mark them as having been neutered; two of the cats in the group were already fixed, although the previous owners couldn’t be found, as they had no identification tags or microchips.

Although not all of the residents on Neville Park are happy about having a small group of cats living ‘wild’ on their street, they can at least take comfort in the care the cats are getting.

“They’re relieved that we’re not going to have more litters of kittens,” said March.

The cats are all named now, and several are likely tame enough to be adoptable. Romeo, Tom, Oliver and Grampa are all fixed, vaccinated and would likely be ecstatic (as much as any cat is ever ecstatic) to have a new home.

The three Neville Park cat lovers are hoping the furry family members can now enjoy feline life without producing unwanted litters.

“If they can’t be adopted, at least they can live out a good life and not reproduce,” said March.

The cat caretakers of Neville Park would be happy to accept donations of cat food, as the volunteers are paying to feed at least nine furry felines at the moment.

Anyone looking for information on how to help stray or feral cats should call Toronto Cat Rescue at 416-538-8592, or visit www.torontocatrescue.ca.


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3 comments

We live in the area as well and would love to know how we can purchase food and drop it off. Would be great for a local pet food store to arrange a box in store for these donations. (e.g. Pet Value on Queen)

Can you advise how we can supply food? Article only directed us to Toronto Cat Rescue, not this group directly.

If you wish to donate items to Toronto Cat Rescue, you can call our hotline at 416-538-8592 and leave a message with your name, phone number, items you wish to donate, and closest major intersection. A volunteer will send an email out to our foster homes and feral colony caretakers, and someone will be in touch to arrange a pick up or drop off. thanks.

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