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Homemade shelters from Truro rescue give cats a home for the holidays

Carma Cat Colchester builds free winter shelters for homeless cats

3 min read
caption Patsy Oxner hands out cat shelters at Carma Cat Colchester on Saturday.
Hollie Uffindell

While clowders of feral cats in Colchester County remain homeless this winter, Carma Cat Rescue is keeping some of them safe and warm.

The Colchester County chapter of Carma Cat Rescue Maritimes handed out homemade cat shelters in Truro on Saturday. These outdoor houses are made from donated polystyrene foam, plastic totes and straw by the rescue’s seven volunteers. Each shelter houses one or two cats and is weatherproof, allowing for caretakers to place it anywhere outdoors.

Carma Cat has been supplying community cat caretakers with winter housing since September 2015, but this was the first year that the group advertised shelters on their Facebook page. Within five minutes of arriving at the parking lot outside their building, all 25 shelters were given to locals caring for stray community cats.

caption Locals pick and choose winter cat shelters outside Carma Cat Colchester on Saturday.
Hollie Uffindell

“You would never know how many feral cat colonies or stray cats there really are in Colchester County,” said Carma Cat Colchester chairperson Patsy Oxner. “It’s such a big area and you’ve got cats from walking on the sidewalk in town to the backwoods cats that just keep breeding and breeding and breeding.”

The number “just grows and grows,” said Oxner. “We’re at 1,000 cats that have come through our traps since 2015 – and that’s a low number.”

Oxner said that there are colonies of strays “everywhere” in the Maritimes, using the 8,193 cats trapped, neutered and released by Cape Breton’s Feral and Abandoned Cat Society as an example.

“Cats seem to be looked at as a disposable animal that can fend for themselves, which they’re not.”

Carma Cat Colchester’s goal is to limit the ever-growing cat population in Colchester County through the use of a trap, neuter and return project. Stray cats are reported to the group and are humanely trapped, operated on and either released back into the wild or put through their adoption program.

The group has successfully aided one entire feral cat colony to completion. What this means, Oxner explained, is that every cat in the colony lived out their lives naturally after going through Carma’s trap, neuter and release project.

“It just went away and that’s what we want,” said Oxner. “We want Mother Nature to phase them out after we’ve given them everything that they need to have a healthy life.”

Carma Cat Colchester is building more cat shelters now that requests from caretakers have grown. The Rescue will be hosting another giveaway within the next two weeks, Oxner said.

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