One Man’s Crusade to Help Feral Cats

Helder Da Silva of Toronto found and rescued a frozen kitten four years ago at his place of work, the compassionate act would become instrumental in changing his life and the lives of many homeless cats.

Da Silva who has six cats of his own has racked up over 140,000 km on his car over the past four years traveling to cat colonies everyday across the city providing about 35 homeless cats with donated food and water he told the Toronto Star.

cats, Cat men, Toronto, Homeless cats, feral cats, stray cats, cat crisis in Toronto, Adopt, spay and neuter cats, responsible cat ownership, don't dump cats, unwanted cats, A man making a difference for cats in Toronto, Hero for cats, kittens,Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Animal Services, Free spay neuter clinic, cat colony caretakers, Helder Da Silva

Helder Da Silva feeds cats daily at four locations in the around the city – Source Sadiya Ansari Toronto Star

“I’ve lost a lot of respect for the human race because this is all done by people — careless, ignorant, uneducated. It shouldn’t be happening,” said Da Silva.

While food is a concern for the cats so is the source of available water  “They’re dying of thirst” he told the Toronto Star, so when the temperature starts to drop, he leaves water in a steel bowl placed in an old cookie tin, which he keeps from freezing by lighting a small candle beneath the bowl in the tin.

Helder Da Silva is doing his part to help and has fixed about 100 plus cats, and like other cat colony caretakers has benefited by the free spay neuter clinics offered through the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services.

Unwanted cats are abandoned all the time, they are left in areas with existing cat colonies all over the city, the problem made worse by the fact that people do not spay and neuter their cats.

“If people don’t want their cats, just give them up for adoption,” Da Silva said. There are so many organizations assisting in adoptions now that just dropping off a cat curbside should never be an option, he said. “There’s no excuse for that.”

It is estimated that there are about 100,000  plus homeless cats in the city, anyone wishing to get involved and help should contact the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition a group that offers fantastic resources on TNR.

Fate on the 427 a Rescue Story

Mandi Howard, a nurse from the Humber River Hospital’s emergency department, was in the right place at the right time, you might even call it fate. In this case Mandi’s timing would prove to be life saving.

Last week Mandi Howard was driving along Toronto’s busy Highway 427 when she noticed something being thrown from a car, at first she thought it was just fast food trash, but very quickly realized it was fur – it was an animal.

Howard pulled over just before the Gardiner Expressway and carefully got out of her car, walking along the shoulder of the highway as cars whizzed by. Halfway towards the animal, she realized what it was.” 

cats, kittens, Pedro the Kitten thrown from a car, Toronto, Hwy 427, Mandi Howard, Toronto Humane Soceity, Mama Meows cat Rescue, Oshawa, Cat Rescue, Taylor Swift Blank Space,

The kitten, named Pedro was rescued from the side of Highway 427 and taken in to the Toronto Humane Society, where he’s been recovering.

She pulled over to the side and walked along the shoulder of the highway, waved to slow drivers down and quickly scooped up the kitten who was in bad shape.

“His poor little mouth is busted open and he’s got a tooth missing in the front and his paw was really deformed.”

Mandi cradled and supported the tiny screaming kitten who started to quiet down as soon as she began to sing along to Taylor Swifts Blank Space on the radio, while she rushed him to the Toronto Humane Society where he received emergency vet care. Little Pedro was treated for scrapes, the vets sewed up his split lip and put splints on his back legs. All of the toes on the kitten’s back paws were broken.

cats, kittens, Pedro the Kitten thrown from a car, Toronto, Hwy 427, Mandi Howard, Toronto Humane Soceity, Mama Meows cat Rescue, Oshawa, Cat Rescue, Taylor Swift Blank Space,

Pedro the Kitten after treatment looking better. -via Toronto Humane Society

Mandi, who had lost her own cat named May a week earlier, plans to adopt Pedro and said that it was May who guided her to Pedro “This was my day off. I wasn’t even supposed to be there,” she said. “She brought me there for a reason.” via the Toronto Star

Mandi is no stranger to animal rescue as she also runs Mama Meows Cat Rescue based in Oshawa, Ontario where her current list of cats up for adoption come from the high-kill New York Shelter (NYACC). The rescue specializes in very sick and orphaned kittens but is looking to expand and be able to help all cats and kittens. If you would like to become a foster parent, donate or volunteer your time to the rescue please contact them here.

An Indiegogo campaign has also been started to help pay for Pedro’s medical costs called The 427 Kitten and as of today has raised $5,885 in donations, well above what was required. The remaining funds will be put to good use and be donated to the Toronto Humane Society to help other animals in need.

The OSPCA is investing and looking for leads, if you were traveling on the 427 last Wednesday December 3 and witnessed the kitten being tossed from a car window, or saw anything that could help with this case, please call Constable John Ennis at 416-235-4981 of the Ontario Provincial Police. It is hopeful that a witness will come forward to help catch the abuser who committed this horrible crime.

 

 

National Feral Cat Day

First launched by Alley Cat Allies in 2001 and marked on October 16 of every year, National Feral Cat Day is a day to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return, and recognize the millions of compassionate people who care for them.

cats, kittens, feral cats, Alley Cat Allies, TNR, Trap-Neuter-Release, stray cats, October 16, Spay, Neuter, Volunteer with cats, community helping animals, Compassion for cats, Feral Cat Day Toronto, Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Cat Rescue, Garrison Ferrals,

  • Feral cats, also called community or outdoor cats, have lived alongside humans for more than 10,000 years. Feral cats, live in groups called colonies and can thrive in every landscape. They can be as healthy as pet cats, but they are not socialized to humans and in many cases, there are exceptions, not adoptable.
  • Trap-Neuter-Return—a humane approach to managing and caring for feral cats—is the only effective method of stabilizing feral cat colonies.
  • In the majority of cities, feral cats are still caught and brought to animal pounds and shelters where they are killed. The shelter system is the number one cause of death for cats.
  • Estimates place the number of homeless cats in Toronto at between 20,000 and 100,000. source Toronto Humane Society

cats, kittens, feral cats, Alley Cat Allies, TNR, Trap-Neuter-Release, stray cats, October 16, Spay, Neuter, Volunteer with cats, community helping animals, Compassion for cats, Feral Cat Day Toronto, Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Cat Rescue, Garrison Ferrals, Toronto, Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition

The Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition is a great resource for those wishing to know more about how to help Feral Cats. TFCC is “a coalition of municipal animal controls, humane organizations, rescue groups and concerned individuals, working collectively to improve the lives of feral cats through strategic TNR programs and to address the numbers of homeless and feral cats living on the streets.”

It is good to remember Feral Cats did not choose their life, they have been abandoned, neglected, left behind and left able to reproduce. They suffer from exposure to the harsh elements, disease, injuries, sickness and cruelty. TNR and management of cat colonies works to address these issues by providing community based compassionate support.

Toronto declares first annual Feral Cat Awareness Week!

cats, kittens, feral cats, Alley Cat Allies, TNR, Trap-Neuter-Release, stray cats, October 16, Spay, Neuter, Volunteer with cats, community helping animals, Compassion for cats, Feral Cat Day Toronto, Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Cat Rescue, Garrison Ferrals, Toronto, Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition, Garrison Fersals George Flyer

Live in Toronto? Come out to support Garrison Ferals and help George!

Want to get involved in your city? Events are being held in the US, Canada and the rest of the world just click on the map to find an event near you!

cats, kittens, feral cats, Alley Cat Allies, TNR, Trap-Neuter-Release, stray cats, October 16, Spay, Neuter, Volunteer with cats, community helping animals, Compassion for cats, Feral Cat Day Toronto, Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Cat Rescue, Garrison Ferrals, Toronto, Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition

Sunday Night Re-Cat

Today was the third and final day of Canada’s First Mega Pet Adoption Event in Toronto and what an amazing 3 days it was.

Toronto, PetSmart Charities Canada, Toronto's Mega Pet Adoption Event, CNE

Saturday – All the cats ready to go!

Rows and rows of cages with cats from Toronto Animal Services, Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Cat Rescue and more came together to help find hundreds of cats new homes.

The public was lined up outside the doors before we opened and waited patiently to meet the cats and go through the adoption process. It was really great to meet so many well-informed new pet parents and animal lovers who would ultimately give all the cats and dogs, a forever home.

Toronto, PetSmart Charities Canada, Toronto's Mega Pet Adoption Event, CNE

Total number of pets adopted by end of day Saturday –  450!

At the end of the day Saturday Toronto Animal Services adopted 110+ cats and all groups combined adopted a total of 450 animals! Due to the success of the first two days, it was confirmed that we would bring in cats from the city of London Ontario to help find homes for an additional 30 cats on Sunday.

Toronto, PetSmart Charities Canada, Toronto's Mega Pet Adoption Event, CNE

Blue top, Joey bottom & Astrid the cat all adopted!

Sunday was a slower start, but by noon we picked up and the cat adoptions started and didn’t stop until we adopted out every single cat. Our cages were empty and the grand total for the entire event came in…

Toronto, PetSmart Charities Canada, Toronto's Mega Pet Adoption Event, CNE

Final tally – 570 pets adopted!

Toronto Animal Services adopted every one of our cats and most rescue groups present were just as successful. In total 570 animals found homes at this event, it surpassed the original goal that was set.

All the groups and volunteers left happily exhausted and looking forward to the next event.

On a final note, the pair Jerry and Purr-minator who I featured in a previous post got adopted during this event 🙂

 

 

Canada’s First Mega Pet Adoption Event!

Next week Toronto will host Canada’s first ever Mega Pet Adoption event with Toronto Animal Services (TAS) and Toronto Humane Society (THS) teaming up – sponsored by PetSmart Charities of Canada and PetSmart.

Toronto, Petsmart, Toronto Animal Servcies, Mega Adoptiion event, rescue, saveIt takes place over 3 days in the Queen Elizabeth Building on the Exhibition Place grounds July 4,5,6

I will be volunteering on Saturday and Sunday helping out with cat adoptions and from what I can tell this event is going to be LARGE.

I contacted Mary Lou Leiher, Program Manager, Partnerships and Marketing at Toronto Animal Services to get more details on how this came about, what the goal is and of course how they are going to manage the biggest adopt-a-thon that Toronto, or Canada has ever seen.

How did the idea for the Mega Pet Adoption event come about?

ML “PetSmart Charities sponsors these types of partnership based mega-adoption events in the U.S. For example, an event in Jacksonville, Florida was hugely successful – they adopted approximately 1000 animals in 3 days from all the animals groups that participated.”

Who approached you to participate?

ML “We were approached by PetSmart Charities because they wanted to do an event in Canada. The venue, advertising, some caging, transport – these are all items paid for with a PetSmart Charities grant.”

What was the main requirement to be eligiable for the PetSmart Charities grant?

ML “One of the grant requirements is that the event be partnership based, so it’s perfect for Toronto as both THS and TAS use partnerships, with other animal groups and also each other (smaller animal groups will also be present).”

Having that many number of animals both dogs and cats in one space can be  stressful especially for the cats, how will the event be run to accommodate them?

ML “Cats and dogs will be kept in opposite ends of the event space (which is cavernous – have you ever seen the QE building exhibit hall? It’s huge!) We’re using half the exhibit hall space for this event. Cats will be placed just inside the entrance and will be moved to the space on July 3rd – day before the event. Dogs will be moved in the morning the event starts and will come in the loading door at the back, so they never have to walk through the cats. Attendees/patrons will have to walk through the cats to get to the dogs, not the other way around.”

Any final words for the goal of this event?

ML “There is no question that the cats will be a little bit stressed. However, my goal would be to rehome every single cat that TAS has up for adoption at the time. I hope to empty out the shelters. So, I believe some short term stress will prevent a longer term stressful shelter stay. This is the first year, so we don’t really know how it’s going to go. The events in the U.S. are insanely successful. So we’ll see!”

A large number of volunteers will also be helping out next week to ensure the event goes a smooth as possible. If you live in Toronto and have been thinking of adopting a new cat this is an event that is not to be missed. Fingers crossed for a great 3 days and that all the well deserving cats find their loving forever home! 🐱