Carma.org setting up Amherst chapter
© Darrell Cole – Amherst Daily News
Kim MacDonald-Distasio is helping form a Cat Rescue Maritimes Chapter in Amherst. The group is holding a yard sale at the Amherst Veterinary Hospital on Willow Street on Saturday, June 22 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It hopes to bring a trap-neuter and return program in Amherst to control the stray cat population.
AMHERST – Kim MacDonald-Distasio’s heart breaks every time she sees a stray cat wandering around town.
MacDonald-Distasio recently moved to Amherst after spending many years in the United States and she is reaching out to other residents to help our feline friends by bringing Cat Rescue Maritimes (carma.org) to the community.
“There’s a shocking amount of stray cats in Amherst and people are walking by unaware that they’re even there. They live in the shadows, they’re nocturnal and they’re very good at hiding under sheds, porches and bushes,” she said. “They’re there in all sorts of weather and when they’re not spayed or neutered there’s fighting in the colony.”
She said one pair of cats and their kittens’ kittens can produce 420,000 offpring in seven years, assuming a conservative two litters per year and an average of 2.8 kittens per litter.
MacDonald-Distasio said the cat rescue organization believes in fixing stray cats by having them spayed or neutered. She said the trap-neuter-return program is universally recognized as the most effective, economical and humane solution to cat overpopulation.
“We’re in a crisis mode right now. This is not a small problem,” she said. “In starting this chapter volunteers are inviting people to come together, and that includes all animal levels. We want your help.”
She said it prevents unwanted cats from being born and reduces the suffering of cat colonies. Shelters, she added, see too many cats needing homes and people are often turned away when they attempt to drop one off.
MacDonald-Distasio said the cats are trapped using humane traps, they are given a complete health check before surgery and are treated for fleas, ear-mites and worms.
Most cats are returned to the site they were taken to live out their natural lives.
She said she is also hoping to see a number of feeding stations put in place throughout the community and is asking people to think of the organization when purchasing groceries.
“It could be as easy as donating a bag of cat food a month, or donating an hour each month to a fundraiser. Everyone has gifts and talents. It’s more than just money, we need your talents,” she said.
To raise money, a yard sale is being held at the Amherst Veterinary Hospital on Saturday, June 22 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to support Cat Rescue Maritimes’ new Amherst chapter’s Trap-Neuter-Return program.
“When you go to the grocery store it’s easy as picking up a little bag of cat food and dropping it off to the veterinary hospital, which has agreed to collect food for us,” she said. “People who want to make monetary donations can also do so at the vet and a tax receipt will be issued by our organization.”
She would also like to see Amherst eventually follow Halifax’s lead in create a fund to support the spaying and neutering of stray cats. She is amazed and impressed at the work that has been done in the community to beautify its downtown and its streets.
Supporting a cat spay/neutering program would help that beautification effort by helping reduce the stray cat population.
The group meets the last Sunday of every month at 9 a.m. at the veterinary hospital on Willow Street. People can also join by coming to the yard sale or sending an email to email@example.com .