Since 2013 Roy and Cher’s Rescue Farm has been assisting animals rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment. We first took in guinea pigs and then a slaughter-bound horse, but soon after we started getting inundated with calls from people all over Eastern Ontario and Southern Quebec to assist stray and feral cats. We quickly recognized the need for a TNR (trap-neuter-return) program, particularly in Cornwall, where most of the cats were located.
In 2017 we were granted charity status and since have been able to pursue more opportunities for grants and fundraising. Last year we raised more than $20,000. Forty-percent of that went to vet bills for cats. (Please keep in mind that we also care for other animals: horses, goats, and guinea pigs to name a few, and have vet expenses for those animals as well).
With the assistance of a compassionate vet in Quebec we have been able to spay and neuter more than 200 cats throughout SD&G and Southern Quebec, with more than 50% of these cats from Cornwall. Since Roy and Cher’s operates as a network of volunteer fosters, our intake of stray cats in limited.
With feral cats typically unable to be socialized with humans, we (as do hundreds of other rescues worldwide) believe that TNR is the best and humane method for feral cats.
Before I continue, it is important to be able to differentiate between feral and stray cats. Cats were never native to North America. It was settlers, arriving from Europe, who brought domesticated cats to this continent.
Feral cats are the result of intact domesticated cats being abandoned, lost or left outdoors (these cats are considered “stray”). After breeding and fending for themselves outdoors, cats tend to distrust humans since they have had little to no human contact. These once “stray” cats are now considered “feral.” Advocates of feral cats are changing the way people perceive ferals and have started referring to them as “community cats.”
I will now refer to feral cats as community cats, since it is important to dissolve the hierarchical divide between humans and cats and realize that we live in a shared environment with numerous animals. Cats that are elusive and uncertain have every right to live outdoors among humans; living with community cats and not against them is vital for a more compassionate and cooperative society.
There are many compassionate residents in Cornwall. These people couldn’t let a person starve, let alone a community cat. And these individuals are happy to care for a colony of community cats by providing outdoor shelters, food and water. Roy and Cher’s assists by spaying and neutering (as well as vaccinating and deworming, and treatment for mites and fleas) these community cats to prevent breeding; thus, attempting to stabilize the population. Community cats are not tame; therefore, adopting them to homes is not an option. These cats are perfectly content living outdoors with little human interaction.
We have been monitoring a couple of colonies that we have been spaying and neutering since 2015. And we have noticed that the numbers of cats in these colonies has stabilized. Furthermore, caretakers of community cat colonies have noticed that once reproduction has stopped, mating behaviours, such as yowling and fighting discontinues. Community cats become better neighbours.
We would like to spay and neuter 30 community cats in Cornwall. In the meantime, we do our very best to care for the community cats of Cornwall with our very limited funding.
Soon it will be “kitten season,” with new births happening every day. We want to prevent that next year by utilizing TNR in the City of Cornwall.
What is the estimated cost of this project? $3,900
What is the estimated date of completion of this project? 08/31/2019
Cornwall and area will benefit from TNR because it reduces and stabilizes community cat populations; stops male cats from spraying (a smell that communities often argue about with neighbours who care for these cats), as well as aggressive fighting and yowling with other cats (which is often a late night behaviour that keeps residents awake); helps shelters focus on adoptions; and provides a humane and collaborative way to address concerns and coexist with community cats. It's important to live with community cats, and not against them. TNR will help.
I wish everyone knew how hard our volunteers work. They all have jobs and families, yet they find the time to assist animals rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment. There is a lot of work that goes into Roy and Cher's Rescue Farm and it is run entirely by volunteers.