TinyKittens’ first fix-a-thon is being called a huge success, with 27 felines safely trapped at the feral cat colony in Aldergrove before being spayed and neutered as well as treated for multiple wounds and infections.
“We spayed 15, neutered 11 and are keeping one kitten who is sick with ringworm and upper respiratory infection,” said Shelly Roche, founder of TinyKittens, the non-profit Langley organization that carried out the fix-a-thon over the weekend.
“In total, 63 per cent of the colony of 59 cats were either spayed or neutered during the fix-a-thon or are in our care and will be spayed/neutered when healthy enough,” she said.
The fix-a-thon, using the trap, neuter, release method, is the first of its kind in Canada, said Roche.
“Once we hit 75 per cent, the colony will stabilize and the number of cats will decline naturally over time instead of continuing to grow exponentially,” she said.
In fact, Roche estimates, the TinyKittens volunteer efforts will prevent 350 kittens from being conceived in 2017.
Dr. Renee Ferguson, veterinarian at Mountain View Veterinary on Willowbrook Drive, performed the operations at no charge.
The 59 feral cats have been living on the rural property as part of an agreement with the owner, who continues to feed them. There are some outbuildings for the cats to stay in.
“The property owner will continue to feed the cats and we will be involved to provide medical care and additional spay/neuter as needed to maintain a healthy, happy, managed colony,” said Roche.
Roche’s own cat, Cassidy, was rescued from the same feral colony.
On the brink of death, Cassidy was taken into emergency care after Roche spotted the then nine-week-old tuxedo kitten, which had no use of his back legs.
His hind legs were stumps and badly infected. Since then Cassidy has become an internet sensation, drawing media attention from around the world after video was posted of the kitten using a custom-built wheelchair.
Roche is still looking to have him outfitted with the first prosthetic legs for cats. In the meantime, Puffy Puffs as he is now being called, is doing great, she said.
When the latest batch of feral cats was rounded up, Ferguson and several vet technicians and staff treated a host of painful ailments including abscesses, ringworm, infections, respiratory illnesses, growths and fleas.
Ferguson had to remove an eye from a cat named Calvin, because the eyeball was rupturing from untreated viral ulcers.
Then there is little Radley, a female kitten with an infected ear canal that would be ‘excruciatingly painful,’ said Roche.
She is staying at TinyKittens headquarters for a while and will be given antibiotics.
“I am hopeful we can socialize and adopt her out. She was purring in my lap last night, she was feeling so much better,” she said.
“It’s going to be intense around here for a while, but we saved a lot of lives this weekend, so it is totally worth it,” said Roche.
There an estimated 22,000 feral cats living in Langley.
Below: some of the rescued feral cats at TinyKittens