Rescue organisation cares for feral felines
Mary Bossley isn’t really a crazy cat lady, but she is definitely passionate about humanely reducing the stray cat colonies in Ka¯piti and Horowhenua. After moving from California to Te Horo nearly five years ago, Bossley quickly began helping various local animal rescue organisations, following on from her experience with similar groups in the US. She soon discovered a need for an organisation that focused primarily on the large number of strays and cat colonies in the area. With O¯ taki Vets on Riverbank Rd coming on board to help with Bossley’s concept of “trap, neuter, microchip, return”, Forgotten Felines officially started business in July 2019. “Two years on and there are 10 to 15 volunteers helping with everything from identifying colonies to trapping the cats, fostering, transport and helping with fundraising.” Forgotten Felines contact property owners who have colonies forming, begin regular checks on the site and set up a feeding station to establish as accurately as possible how many cats there are. Next move is to set up a plan with the owners for trapping and then putting that plan into action. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how approachable and supportive [property owners] have been about our rescue concept.” The number of cats trapped depends on vet capacity but is usually two to four at a time, with available foster homes a consideration as well. Colonies can grow very quickly, according to Bossley. One on a Levin dairy farm originally started with two cats abandoned there three to four years ago. When Forgotten Felines began the trap and return plan on the farm in April last year, 60 cats and lots of kittens had been identified. “Female cats can get pregnant at four months old, can have up to four kittens per litter [and] can birth two to three litters a year.” The charity tries to get kittens under 10 weeks of age fostered then adopted, as they are fairly easy to tame at that age. Any older cats that appear to be socialised are also offered for adoption, once they have been neutered and had a health check. Another of Forgotten Felines objectives is to spread awareness about the need to desex and microchip cats. Along with O¯ taki Vets and Massey University, Forgotten Felines arrange discounted microchipping and desexing events on a regular basis. “As we are right in the middle of the main kitten season right now, any extra help is appreciated.” If you’re interested in helping out Forgotten Felines then get in touch with Mary Bossley via email info@forgottenfelines. org.nz.