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Group continues to tackle cat overpopulation


PICTOU – Amanda Cornett understands the value of a cat.

Brisen McNamara fills a dish full of wet food at one of Ca-r-ma’s feeding sites in Pictou Thursday, the day before National Feral Cat Day. McNamara and his mother, Amanda Cornett, have been volunteering with the local chapter since July. 

Her prized pet is the reason she was able to get out of her home safely with her young son during a house fire this past March, after their furry hero woke them up.

When the opportunity arose to volunteer with Ca-r-ma (Cat Rescue Maritimes) to feed feral cats in Pictou, she pounced on it, and brought her five-year-old son with her.

“To show him that, it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, everybody needs help sometimes,” she said about why she does it.

Cornett is one of about 20 volunteers who help out the local chapter of Ca-r-ma, a charity that traps, neuters (or spays), and returns (TNR) feral cats to their colony in order to reduce the stray cat population.

While it’s been operating locally since 2011, National Feral Cat Day today (Oct. 16) brings the organization to the forefront. 

When the group started, the cat overpopulation in Pictou County was past the point of crisis, the group said, and the SPCA had identified the town of Pictou as the most overpopulated area.

Helen Baudoux-McLaughlin, principal leader for Ca-r-ma Pictou Chapter, says they’re working on it, but without public knowledge of what they’re doing, they won’t get anywhere.

“People don’t understand how frequently they can have kittens.”

The group is always looking for help – whether it’s through monetary donations for their TNR program, donations of food, volunteers, or people looking to adopt. 

Since July, Cornett and her son, Bricen McNamara, have spent 20 minutes every second weekend to fill food and water dishes at four feeding sites in Pictou.

At one of their spots, the cats are out before the dishes are even full, making an appearance as part of their routine rather than at the sound of nourishment hitting their bowls.

It gives Cornett a sense of pride, and her son enjoys it.

“He’d take every animal he sees home if he could,” Cornett said about her son.

At one of their locations, they typically feed three cats, but Cornett has been told more will come around as the days gets colder, a phenomenon she’s already noticed herself.

 “…It’s our small way of helping our community out and making it a better place.”

 

By The Numbers

2011

When Ca-r-ma opened a chapter in Pictou

 

8

How many sites in Pictou Ca-r-ma is actively involved with right now

 

15-20

How many volunteers Pictou Ca-r-ma has

 

200

How many cats Ca-r-ma has spayed or neutered since 2011 

 

$75-$190

How much spaying or neutering can cost

 

420,000

How many offspring can be produced by a pair of cats and their kittens’ kittens in seven years 

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