Project set to address stray cats in village
SPENCERVILLE - As the weather turns bitter and the season of giving is upon us, two local residents are determined to make a difference in the lives of some of the most helpless, and often forgotten, at this time of year - stray cats and kittens facing the cold winter alone on the streets. With the support of the community, Abby Madeline and Cindy Cere Reznicek have spearheaded the Spencerville Stray Cat TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) Project. The project aims to find a humane and long-term solution to the village's stray cat problem.
"The project was started because I was walking home from school when I saw a stray cat who had several babies. The one kitten was missing an eye and the other kitten had its eye sealed shut. I spent my whole night trying to catch the kittens but only caught two out of five. I wanted to be involved because the strays deserve to be off the streets. The strays are either getting hit by cars or starving and freezing to death," said Abby Madeline.
Approximately 40 known strays are living in the area, constantly reproducing and continuing to drive up the stray population. Many of the cats are in poor health and proving to be a nuisance (defecating in sandy areas, getting into garbage, possibly introducing diseases like FIV). The Spencerville Stray Cat TNR team of volunteers is willing to live-trap, spay/neuter and adopt/release back into the community as appropriate. Some cats will be adoptable for homes, others for barns, and some feral cats will go back into the community, but with support in the form of insulated colony houses.
"I had no idea there were so many stray cats in the village. I went around and spoke to many neighbours and they all thought the cats were a nuisance and some people were getting in trouble for feeding them. The cats were suffering outside, and the females had litter after litter for years. Very few kittens live past kittenhood in the wild. People feed these cats hoping to help, but actually it makes the situation worse because it makes them healthy enough to reproduce. Our Trap, Neuter, Return program offers a humane way to control the population of stray cats," said Cindy Cere Reznicek.
The feral cats that have been trapped thus far in Spencerville will be relocated to barns where they will be fed and have shelter. Others have taken to being pet and being inside, and are currently up for adoption.
"I was a vet tech for ten years and worked in rescue for almost ten years while living in Montreal. I have always had a passion for animals and helping rescue abandoned cats. I also want to help people realize that sterilizing their cats, especially outdoor cats, is so important. Every rescue is overflowing with cats looking for homes; sterilizing pets is the only way this overpopulation can be managed," said Reznicek of how each pet owner can make a difference.
The group is working with Iwona Sobieraj, the local animal control officer for the Township of Edwardsburgh-Cardinal, as well as Heidi's Kitty Haven in Cardinal.
"We have received so much help from the community to trap, and have had donations of supplies and money. We have trapped seven cats so far. There are a couple other colonies around with six-ten cats in each. We trap them and once we have a few we take them to get sterilized and vet checked. So far, they have all had fleas and intestinal worms," said Reznicek.
"We have three wonderful cats up for adoption. All have spent their whole lives outside and are ready for life inside. We are always in need of cat food and litter so that we can care for them from the time of trapping until after they have recovered from surgery. We also need monetary donations to pay for the surgeries and vet expenses," said Reznicek.
The group is asking for the community's help to provide volunteer hours, financial support, and donations of goods and services. For more information or to get involved with the project, join 'Spencerville Stray Cat TNR Project' on Facebook, call 613-213-1254, or donate at www.gofundme.com/help-2-local-strays-get-sterilized.