The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)

The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)

Vancouver Island volunteers making life easier feral cats

Food, veterinary services and more helps make a difference to abandoned cats in the region

Feral cats, wild cats, stray cats – we have many names for the mysterious felines we sometimes see peeking out from under our porches or darting into abandoned buildings.

Yet, most of them share a single destiny: short, difficult lives.

Fortunately for them, groups like the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) help make a difference.

Every day, Margarita Dominguez and her volunteers visit five cat colonies feeding the hungry felines, sometimes trapping them so the animals can get veterinary care, but often just giving them a loving pet.

“We are always on the go,” Dominguez, president of SAFARS, said.

RELATED: Strays and feral cats aided by new group

Feral cats are offsprings of abandoned cats. Feral cats have never lived with human beings and grow up fending for themselves.

According to the BCSPCA, because a female cat can become pregnant as young as 16 weeks of age and go on to have two or three litters a year, the feral cat population – and the problems associated with it – grows and perpetuates. In seven years, a single female cat and its kittens can produce 420,000 more cats.

Dominguez said since her group formed in 2012, the problem is still the same: people breeding cats and selling them as “cheap, cute, coloured fluffy kittens.” The abandoned cat problem arrives when the kittens start getting in heat, and the family cannot afford the thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills.

“At the second or third pregnancy, the mother cat is dumped in some bushes, and she becomes our problem,” Dominguez said.

The animal welfare group spends up to $20,000 for veterinary services such as spay and neutering and relies on community donations for pet food, supplies and monetary donations. It is always in search of foster homes for pregnant cats and farms for feral cats.

SAFARS does not apply for funding from any public organization, such as the District of Sooke or the BCSPCA, over what Dominguez calls too much red tape and “absurd corporate” rules. Her group is not a legal charity.

Dominguez said more help is needed to tame the feral cat problem, and the municipality needs to take more responsibility.

For years she has lobbied for an animal shelter in Sooke only to be turned aside by governing bodies.

“Over the years, every time a family calls us because they need assistance with feral cats that somebody dumped on their land, we run as fast as we can to help,” Dominguez said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

READ MORE: Dozen Metchosin ‘barn cats’ on the hunt for new homes



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

animal welfareBCSPCASookeWest Shore

Just Posted

Kaleb Robertson at bat during the 18UAAA North Island Cubs season opener against the Cowichan Valley Mustangs on June 19, 2021. Photo by Sean Feagan / Black Press Media.
PHOTOS: Minor baseball players and fans welcome return to play

18UAAA Cubs start regular season action after long wait with convincing win against Mustangs

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

New literacy framework will allow teachers to assess whether students have the necessary skills to become strong readers, and intervene early if they need help. Photo by Marissa Tiel/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River school board creating new literacy framework

New plan aims to reverse declining literacy in SD72

Duncan Hurd says his fence has been smashed multiple times in the past month. Photo courtesy Duncan Hurd
Vandalism escalating in Campbell River neighbourhood, resident says

Neighbours want to see vandals ‘identified’

Kandi Kehler has just over two weeks left in her rental, but doesn’t know where she is going to go next. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
12 days left: Campbell River family at end of lease with nowhere else to go

Biggest fear coming to life for Campbell River mom

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Most Read