December 28, 2021 – 9:00 pm
A cat rescue agency in Kamloops is appealing to the public to open their homes to foster care after several cats were found frozen to death this week.
Temperatures in Kamloops and Okanagan were well below freezing, and in some communities, the cold was already record-breaking.
Sammy’s Forgotten Felines monitor cat colonies in the area and provide them with hay-filled winter shelters. Recently, several cats were found frozen to death in those shelters. In extreme cold weather, outdoor cats can also suffer from hypothermia and frostbite, and loss of ears, toes, and tails.
Cat rescue has received more calls than ever from residents worried about stray cat colonies outside in the freezing cold.
Read more: Severe cold warnings issued for Kamloops, Shuswap and Similkameen
Managers and founders Jen Breckenridge and Julie Ondang said they are overburdened and need help, noting that adoption is much easier than some might think.
Without a main shelter building, the organization relies on foster families.
“Farmers will need an extra room or an extra bathroom,” Breckenridge said. “We provide everything from food to litter to veterinary care. Many of them are adults, frightened and cold. Some will not survive without help.”
Breckenridge said about 150 cats need entry.
Read more: The problem of overpopulation in cats still affects Kamloops
Experience with feral cats is not required.
“We currently have some cats that have socialized very well, so for someone inexperienced we can offer animals that are friendlier than our current homes to make room for those who need more adaptation,” Ondang said. “If people had experience that would be very helpful.”
Cats should be kept separate from other household pets. Small enclosed rooms allow stray cats to feel safe and calm. Many wild cats carry diseases, so they should be separated from other household pets.
Ondang said the length of time a cat stays in the home varies with individual circumstances.
“We do not place time limits on how long it takes a cat to get used to the home environment,” she said. “It may take weeks or months before they are ready for a forever home and in some cases the sponsors choose to adopt them.”
Read more: Wholewoman and Pisces build temporary winter shelters for stray cats
The organization began in 2019 in response to reports of a massive cat colony living in the suburbs of Kamloops. A group of volunteers with experience in animal rescue gathered to meet the need.
“The population numbers were massive,” Breckenridge said. “The first colony we dealt with we removed 82 cats and miraculously managed to find homes for all of them. We are still in contact with the guy whose property the colony was on and no cats have appeared there since.”
The organization relies on public donations and fundraising to keep operating. They will be able to receive grants when they obtain charitable status. All donations for cat food and supplies are required and can be delivered at the Stock Pot Café in Kamloops.
“Food is the biggest need,” Breckenridge said. “In the winter, cats need to keep eating to stay warm as we go crazy with food. We also need bales of hay to fill their outdoor shelters.”
If you have a stray cat, Breckenridge said, put a straw bed out of the wind, and avoid putting towels that collect moisture and freezing.
“It’s really rewarding to know you’re saving a cat from a cold,” she said. “It’s amazing to see them adapt and release their personalities.”
If you can sponsor or for more information, email Jen and Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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