New homes needed for abandoned cats

Darrell Cole
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22 rescued from vacant home in Springhill Junction

Michelle Hicks needs the community's help in finding new homes for 22 abandoned cats rescued from an area home recently.

A colony of 22 cats was rescued from a vacant home in Springhill Junction recently. The cats have been spayed and neutered and now Michelle Hicks is looking for people to provide foster or adoptive homes for the animals. A fund has also been set up at the Amherst Veterinary Hospital to help offset the cost of spaying and neutering the cats.

SPRINGHILL JUNCTION – The rescue of more than 20 cats from a vacant home here has a rescuer calling on residents to be more vigilant of abandoned felines in their communities.

“This situation just goes to show there are many cat colonies out there and they need our help,” Michelle Hicks said.

Hicks went to the home last week and was able to trap 22 cats of varying ages. Of that number, only six were adults while 17 of them were females. Most of them were young kittens.

“Very quickly that colony of cats could have expanded to 60 to 80 cats by spring,” she said.

The house in question was vacated by its owners last September and the cats that were there were left to fend for themselves. She believes what started as six or eight cats quickly grew.

The cats, she said, are in pretty good health and had been someone’s pet. She also said someone had been feeding the cats because there were empty bags of cat food in the home.

The cats have been spayed and neutered and at least six of them have been adopted. The rest, Hicks said, are in her care.

She is hoping people will come forward and help cover the cost of having the cats spayed and neutered at the Amherst Veterinary Hospital. She is also looking for foster homes and adoptive homes for the remaining cats.

“The cats themselves are in pretty good health, only two were of them were pretty emaciated and dehydrated,” Hicks said. “They were living in deplorable conditions. The entire house was like a litter box. It made me physically ill.”

Hicks said the veterinary hospital has been tremendous to deal with and is doing what it can to help, however, she’s like to see the cost of spaying and neutering the cats covered financially. A fund has been set up at the clinic to help offset the cost.

The plight of the cats has generated a lot of discussion on social media and she’s hoping some of those who commented will come forward to help financially or by providing new or foster homes for the cats.

She said the whole situation speaks to the problem of what to do with cats when you move. In many cases, she said, people just leave the cats behind or turn them loose into the environment.

“In a lot of cases they haven’t been spayed or neutered and the population grows and grows,” Hicks said. “The minister has talked about making it illegal to abandon cats, but how do you enforce it. People will just get sneakier or kill the animals.”

Hicks, who is a member of Cat Rescue Maritimes, believes strongly in a subsidized spay/neuter program as a way of controlling feline overpopulation. Carma, she said, has already tackled several cat colonies in the Amherst area.

Most importantly, she said, people need to report situations where they believe animals are being abused or abandoned.

“Call the SPCA so it can intervene if you see cats that have been left behind. Contact Carma or someone else, just make sure you call someone,” she said.

For more information on helping out, Hicks can be reached at 667-4451.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Amherst Veterinary Hospital

Geographic location: Springhill Junction, Amherst

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Recent comments

  • kathy hubbard
    February 05, 2014 - 13:24

    i found these cats and did call the spca,they had dealt with the owner before ,saying he took his cats but left the strays he had been feeding with him when he moved,he convinced the spca that the door had been kicked in and the cats got in the house,i believe he left it open for them and left,which in my eyes was abandondment,the spca woulod not do anything about this case,they told me to leave them there at least they had shelter.if it wasnt for michelle hicks and some other awesome vollunteers,those cats would be freezing,starving and overpopulating all winter,amherst needs cat bylaws,or atleast a system in place to deal with the cat problems,kudos michelle,u saved alot of furry lives,and i thank you,

  • Alexis
    February 05, 2014 - 10:05

    This is a community problem and it takes more than one person to act on behalf of these poor neglected animals. Lets all do our part here and with the issue of abandoned cats in general and become a community that is respected for the way it treats it's animals. Join the group, adopt a cat, donate money.....let's work towards change. I've given my donation.

    • noodle
      February 05, 2014 - 13:29

      I agree, however it's a catch 22 situation - the shelter is turning away people who want to give up their cats because it's too full then many of those cats are abandoned and end up contributing to the number of strays. The big issue is that the municipalities need to contribute more to the shelter so it can expand, but historically the shelter hasn't been a priority for funding even though many of the municipalities rely almost exclusively on the shelter for animal control services. It would be interesting to know the current level of funding the shelter receives from each town and the county.