Reducing stray cats pivotal

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Carma.org setting up Amherst chapter

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 mapleleafbears@gmail.com .

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

Organizations: Amherst Veterinary Hospital

Geographic location: Amherst, United States, Willow Street

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Recent comments

  • Charlie Joseph
    June 18, 2013 - 13:07

    Oh Jack, reading and quoting annecdotal local evidence without greater context is dangerous. While I support the aims and will contribute to this cat program, the idea that 2 feral cats will grow into 420,000 in 7 years doesn't take into account predators in the ecosystem that will eat the kittens, disease, and accidental deaths. As for birds - cats are miniscule in the damage comparison. Pigeons and other non native species are disease carriers and parasitic breeding grounds. Birds need to be controlled more than they currently are. Anyone who has lived in a city will understand the pigeon problem. In a SARS type case or most of the avian type flues, pigeons will likely spread the next great pandemic as evidence shows from China. The reason parts of Europe did so bad in dealing with the Black Plague was due to the Churches and leaders ordering the killing of cats, who were the best culling method of the real death incubators - rats. Without our cat friends - north america would be overgrown with rats, mice and uncontrolled invasive bird populations. People need to study statistics, logic and nature before going insane with only part of the story.

  • Jack Frost
    June 17, 2013 - 20:08

    They're decimating the avian world in NA, and by the numbers they are able to reproduce, is it any wonder. There is an incredible short (45 min) video on cats and the study they did on a park in DC, where there isn't a bird anywhere to be found because there is over 350 feral cats decimating the bird population.

  • noodle
    June 17, 2013 - 18:57

    Good on you! I don't own a cat being more of a dog person, but I love all animals and I'm glad to see someone who cares trying to do something to help the situation. I'll certainly be dropping off some food at the vet clinic. Thanks for your efforts Ms. MacDonald-Distasio - I hope you succeed in establishing a spay/neuter and release program.