Colonial Beach Humane Society Needs Donations
By Linda Farneth
Pat Fitzgerald gave the Council an update on the Colonial Beach Humane Society and their work with feral cat colonies, during the July 17 meeting.
Fitzgerald said, “The Humane Society was formed back in 1991-92 to help deal with the feral cat population in Colonial Beach. Westmoreland County does not deal with cats.”
Although the town doesn’t actually have a physical location many volunteers along with Pat Fitzgerald work to feed several feral cat colonies. They also trap, neuter and release feral cats to help control the populations.
Fitzgerald said the Humane Society is run by all volunteers. They only receive $500.00 a year from the county and another $500.00 from the town, which Fitzgerald said is greatly appreciated but the battle to control the feral cat population continues.
Fitzgerald said volunteers use their own personal vehicles, pay for gas and often times pay for food. To make matters worse, when providing water and food the volunteers often run into vultures waiting to swoop down and steal the food.
Currently there are about 6 colonies in Colonial Beach. Fitzgerald said that relocating does not work because the cats usually return. She also said by TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) The colonies are kept in tact and it helps to keep the colonies from growing. She also explained that by leaving the colonies they will chase outsiders away.
Studies show when cat colonies are relocated, many of them will return. The lack of cats in an established colony creates a void. Other cats move in and take the place of the removed cats. New cats may not be spayed or neutered which in turn causes the population to grow.
Another problem facing feral colonies is that people often drop unwanted cats where controlled feral colonies are established. This is not only dangerous for the cat being dropped but it’s also illegal to abandon a domestic animal. Often times cats who are dropped in feral colonies don’t have the proper training from their mother to hunt and take of themselves.
Fitzgerald said cats can go into heat every 3 to 4 weeks which most people have no concept of. Gestation periods range from 60 to 90 days. “So you can figure out the math and she can have anywhere from 1 to 6 kittens.”
Fitzgerald said although they have several vets helping, it’s still a never ending battle. People ask why the group won’t relocate the cats, Fitzgerald said because they come right back. Others have suggested relocating to barns, Fitzgerald said that farmers already have their own barn cats. “There’s nowhere to take them.”
When the group traps feral cats, they take them to be spayed or neutered, the cats are de-wormed, receive a rabies shot and the vet tips their ears so they can be identified as a sterile cat and won’t be caught again.
Fitzgeral said one year the group TNR’d 161 cats in two days. The group is always in need of donations. The group also offers coupons to help with low cost spaying and neutering.
If you would like to make a donation you can send a check to P.O. Box 393. Your tax-deductible donations can be made to the Colonial Beach Humane Society.
The group works closely with Wendy’s Feline Friends, a cat rescue located in Westmoreland Shores.
If you need help with spaying or neutering your cat you may contact Wendy at Wendy’s Feline Friends, 804-224-1079.
If you or your family is looking to adopt a cat check out all the beautiful cats at Wendy’s Feline Friends. Call ahead for directions and an appointment to see all the cute rescue cats.