The Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor has been called upon to help out with two feral cat colonies recently discovered on the island. In both situations what started as two or three cats rapidly became full-blown colonies of over 30 cats in each, with several pregnant females as part of that count. According to Rina Tappan, a shelter employee, “Many of these cats and kittens have upper respiratory issues or other health problems and all of them need to be spayed or neutered”. Shelter staff has made some progress by removing some of the tame cats and kittens from one of the colonies, but they know this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The first four cats, all females about 4-months old, have received veterinary care and have been spayed at Harbor Veterinary Services. A mother cat and her seven kittens were recently taken from the same colony and will be relocated to the Animal Protection Society of Orcas Island.
The two colonies promise to be a long-term project for the shelter – at least 40 other cats and kittens must be spayed or neutered and then either returned to the colony they came from or placed up for adoption if they prove to be tame. “All of this will be very expensive for the animal shelter,” said shelter Director, Leslie Byron. “Aside from the veterinary expense, there is also the cost of feeding, housing and transporting all these cats, not to mention the ongoing expense of providing food for those cats who are too wild to be placed in homes and must be returned to where they came from.”
“If there has ever been a time when the animal shelter could use the support of the community, this is it,” said shelter employee Jan Murphy.
Monetary donations as well as donations of cat food would be welcome at this point. Also, if folks are in need of barn cats, they should contact the animal shelter.