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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Here among the cats: NOTL group seeks to help feline friends
Erika Buchkowsky of NOTL Cats has some snuggle time with Phoenix, one of the cats who call the rescue home. Richard Hutton
Erika Buchkowsky of NOTL Cats, with Phoenix, and Tanya Rice, with Miesha, two of the cats who call the rescue home. Richard Hutton
Miesha, in front, and Paisley, two of the felines currently up for adoption through NOTL Cats. Richard Hutton

Miesha and Phoenix were busy making themselves at home, looking out the window or simply checking out the surroundings, at their temporary home with NOTL Cats volunteer Tanya Rice.

Purrs and paws are a way of life at the Rice home, as it is for other volunteers fostering 20 cats and kittens currently being cared for by the group while they await their forever home.

“We need to draw some attention to adopt, don’t shop,” Rice said. “Adopt from your community cat rescue. This is what we’re here for.”

There is a steady flow of felines coming into the rescue, cats picked up as strays, others that have been abandoned and still more who have been surrendered to the group as the owner can no longer care for them.

NOTL Cats does its best to help them all, Rice said.

“We have immediate shelter for cats that require medical attention, or if they’re recovering from veterinarian procedures such as spaying and neutering,” she said. “But once they’ve recovered from that, then we need foster homes.”

By adopting from a rescue, new pet owners can be assured they are adopting a healthy pet, added Erika Buchkowsky, another volunteer with NOTL Cats.

“It just makes sense to adopt from a rescue group rather than go on Kijiji,” she said, adding that many have not been spayed or neutered.

“You don’t know if their medical needs have been addressed,” she said.

Oftentimes, cats come to the group needing medical attention

“They come in with infections – eye infections, respiratory infections,” Rice said.

“They’re injured. Some have had broken bones,” Buchkowsky added.

All cats adopted from the group are checked by a veterinarian, spayed or neutered, microchipped, treated for fleas and parasites, litter trained and socialized. Adoption fees vary depending on the animal.

But before all that, when a cat is brought to the rescue they are first checked to see if they have been microchipped. If they are found to have been chipped, every attempt is made to contact the owner and have the feline returned home.

“In some cases, the owner does not want to be found, which is unfortunate,” Buchkowsky said.

Just in the past month, the group has taken in four abandoned kittens, Rice said. She expects that those numbers will increase with kitten season just around the corner.

“The cycle is going to begin in six to nine weeks, with more kittens,” Rice said.

And with the expected increase in the number of felines needing help, NOTL Cats will be looking to the community for help, whether it be through a donation of supplies or funds to help with veterinary costs or by volunteering to become a foster for the group.

NOTL Cats relies on the donations it receives from the community to go about its work and hosts fundraising events in the spring, summer and at Christmas. Additionally, donation boxes are located at businesses throughout the town.

The group is also thankful for businesses who support their work, including Hendricks Independent Grocer, SOKO Bakery Cafe, Sweets & Swirls Cafe at the NOTL Community Centre, Virgil Animal Hospital, Minor Brothers and the aforementioned Virgil Pet Valu.

Anyone wishing to help, can contact the group via its Facebook page or the NOTL Cats website. The group can also be reached via email at notlcatrescue@hotmail.com. Cats up for adoption are listed, with photos on the website as well as on Petfinder.

Potential cat parents can also meet some of the group’s charges via meet and greets once a month on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Virgil Pet Valu, 1630 Niagara Stone Rd. Each meet and greet will feature two cats.

hutton@niagaranow.com

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