Best for Kitty, a local organization dedicated to finding permanent homes for lost or abandoned felines, is looking for volunteers. A Facebook post on their page from June 21 says they desperately need volunteers to deliver cats and kittens on fairly short notice to places like Rainy River, Dryden, or Thunder Bay.
“We are barely keeping our head above water, and unless we get more volunteer help, our future is very much in doubt,” the post says.
“We need people who are available on an almost on-call basis to do transportation,” says president Gord McCabe.
He says it may not be as simple as just a drop off. The cats may need to be taken to vets in those areas and then brought back. While they can’t afford to pay mileage, they will reimburse gas costs.
Including McCabe, Best for Kitty is made up of five volunteers.
“It’s just not enough,” he says. “We’re all getting pretty tired. Joan Foley is almost working full time. She’s absolutely amazing.”
“It’s pretty overwhelming at times,” says Foley, the organization’s secretary-treasurer. “It’s time consuming.”
Foley says everyone in the organization loves animals, but cats especially.
McCabe says in the organization’s year and a half of operation, they’ve fostered and re-homed almost 150 cats.
“We have a huge, huge, abandoned stray cat problem,” he says. “If you divide that number, we’re re-homing a cat almost every three or four days.”
McCabe says he and Foley used to work with Paws and Claws in International Falls, but when the border closed, there was no way to get animals across.
“We felt we had to do something here, and that’s when Best for Kitty was born,” he says. “It was more of a necessity than a want.”
The organization also wants someone to help with fundraising and administration, and for someone to join the five-person team and sit in on meetings.
McCabe says they’re not in bad shape for fosters, but can always use more. He says you’ll need a separate room to keep the cat(s) in — an extra bathroom, spare bedroom, or even somewhere in the basement. Since not all of them are house pets, they may not be vaccinated. Especially if you have other animals, McCabe says you wouldn’t want them interacting.
He says Best for Kitty will supply food and litter to fosters.
To help reduce the number of stray or abandoned cats, McCabe says it’s vital that people realize how important it is to get their cats spayed or neutered, and to stop them from roaming outside.
“This is a problem that can quickly solve itself if everybody made sure their animals were not reproducing,” says McCabe.
“If we could get cats and kittens spayed and neutered, we wouldn’t have such a big population,” says Foley. “It’s amazing how quickly they multiply. A cat can get pregnant 48 hours after giving birth, so she could be nursing her kittens and just get pregnant again.”
Another common problem McCabe outlined was temporary commitments.
“What we do see is a lot of people go ‘look at that cute kitten,’ and then it turns into a cat and they don’t want it anymore,” he says. “It’s a sad reality but true.”