These kittens’ infected eyes were treated by the Quadra Cat Rescue group last fall. At the time

Group tackles islands’ feral cats

Volunteers are working to rid Quadra and Read islands of any unwanted cats

Volunteers are working to rid Quadra and Read islands of any unwanted cats.

The Unwanted Cat Control Project aims to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the problem of homeless cats, says Valerie van Veen of Quadra Cat Rescue.

“Both islands have significant feral cat populations, the result of early settlement and historic attitudes,” van Veen said. “As our islands become increasingly populated, however, the problem of feral cats which have proven impacts on birds and other small wildlife, and are disease and pest vectors, has become much more urgent.”

The organization, which spends $45,000 a year on vet bills, communications and operations, recently received a $2,000 grant-in-aid from the Strathcona Regional District to help with its expenses.

Van Veen says in the four years since Quadra Cat Rescue (formerly Quadra Feral Cat Group) was established, volunteers have made “a significant difference in reducing and controlling the number of unwanted cats on Quadra through the spay/neuter programs aimed at feral cats and cats owned by low-income residents of both islands.”

The organization works closely with two veterinary clinics in Campbell River to trap, collect and transport feral and domestic, low-income family cats to the clinics nearly once a week.

“The cats receive primary medical care while being fixed, thus helping to control the spread of disease, fleas and worms, as well as the number of unwanted cats,” van Veen says.

The Unwanted Cat Control Project aims to trap, neuter or spay and then release cats which belong to feral cat colonies on the islands and then monitor those colonies and provide food to reduce the need for the cats to feed on other wildlife.

Through the project, volunteers also hope to spread the word about the spay/neuter program for low-income families with pets and help those families arrange vet appointments and transportation for spaying and neutering.

Quadra Cat Rescue has neutered/spayed almost 300 cats since the group was formed in 2009. Van Veen said the organization has been recognized by the BC SPCA as one of the most organized and effective feral cat control programs in the province and has received a $7,500 grant from the SPCA in recognition of its activities.

For more information, to volunteer, adopt an already-fixed cat, or make a donation (charitable tax receipts available), contact the Quadra Cat Rescue by phone, 250-285-CATS (2287) or by e-mail, quadracatrescue@yahoo.com or visit the website, www.quadracats.com