Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Farm cats flood into Richmond sanctuary

Elderly man surrenders 100 felines after huge colony discovered

By Rebecca Tebrake, Vancouver Sun

Richmond's cat sanctuary said Thursday it is struggling to find the space and money to care for 100 "stunningly beautiful" cats and kittens found on an elderly man's farm.

The colony of cats was discovered in the man's barn after a sick kitten wandered into a neighbour's yard on June 19.

The neighbour, who knew the man had many cats, took the kitten to the vet and notified the Richmond Animal Protection Society.

"When we went in, we had no idea that there was going to be a hundred of them," said Christie Lagally, the society's education and fundraising coordinator. "We thought maybe four or five litters, but one hundred was a shock."

Lagally said the man was born on the property and kept the cats as mice-killers for his farm.
But the population boomed over time since the cats weren't spayed or neutered.

"A lot of the cats were in rough shape suffering from an upper respiratory infection," Lagally said.

The elderly man, who was promised confidentiality by the society, agreed to surrender all of the cats.

"The man was more than happy to take our help. I know he loves [his cats] very much, but he's just not able to care of them," Lagally said.

The sanctuary has been able to take in only 25 of the cats so far, but will take in another 25 as soon as some are adopted and more donations come in.

The society is treating the cats for the infection, checking them for AIDS and leukemia, vaccinating them and spaying and neutering them.

It could cost the society up to $17,500 to get these cats ready for adoption and an additional $500 a year to keep them at the sanctuary, if they never find a home.

The cat colony discovery came at the busiest time for shelters since summer months usually see the most kittens arriving. The Richmond Animal Shelter already has 80 to 100 cats available for adoption. Link
Public domain photo