Cats In Durham Left At The Dump
Written By: Janet Lees, GTHS Volunteer
The little black head peeped up through a pile of garbage at the Durham Dump, eyeing the visitor curiously with his one good eye. The visitor, a volunteer with the Feral Cat Rescue Owen Sound & Area, put some food in a trap, got back into her car, and waited. The black cat crept over the mounds of trash towards the food, clearly nervous about the other cats that call the dump home. Before long he was in the trap and his journey to a forever home had begun.
Ernie, as he came to be called, was first taken to the Feral Cat Rescue’s headquarters in Owen Sound. “I assessed him to be friendly and turned him over to the Georgian Triangle Humane Society,” says Nicky Gienow, who operates the Feral Cat Rescue. “Now he’s thriving in the main [cat] room waiting to be adopted.”
The partnership between the Feral Cat Rescue and GTHS began two years ago. “We have an agreement with Nicky where she will take any feral cats we get in and I will accept any homeless cats she gets, as resources and space allow,” explains Robyn Underhill, Animal Health and Operations Supervisor at the GTHS. “Every Saturday (and sometimes more often) she will bring me as many cats as I have room for. I try to save at least two kennels for her each weekend so she can bring cats in. She had mentioned a big, beautiful one-eyed cat that would be coming to us. “
When Ernie arrived at the GTHS, as all cats do, he received a full exam and got started on his vaccinations. “The poor guy had such long fur that was SO badly matted that we couldn’t even tell if he was a boy or a girl, or if he was fixed,” recalls Robyn. “So he went to the vet a few days later where they shaved some mats and determined he was a neutered male, which leads me to believe he was owned at one point but dumped. His ‘bad eye’ appears to exist, but is small and shrunken. We may never know what caused this – possibly an old injury or something he was born with. They did not feel he was in pain as there was no inflammation or irritation.”
After a six-day quarantine period (which is standard to make sure no illnesses pop up, and to give his vaccinations the chance to “do their thing”), he moved forward into the adoption room, where he waits for his forever family!
Ernie is friendly and was probably someone’s pet before being abandoned and making his way to the dump. Some of the cats at the Durham Dump are, like Ernie, strays who have been domesticated but for various reasons ended up alone and gravitated to the dump looking for food. It’s a dangerous place, especially for neutered male cats, who have to contend with the more aggressive, unneutered feral tomcats who have overtaken the dump site.
Strays like Ernie are turned over to the GTHS, along with any kittens recovered from the dump site. Even feral kittens can be socialized and domesticated if they are recovered before the age of about five months, says Nicky. “Under a certain age they have almost a 100 per cent chance of socializing,” she says. “Over five months it could go either way, but if we work with a kitten and determine that it can be socialized, we turn it over to the GTHS.”
Those cats who are more feral and cannot be socialized make great barn cats, says Nicky, and the Feral Cat Rescue works with farmers and barn owners to ensure that cats acclimatize well to their new surroundings.
GTHS has many cats that are searching for their forever home. If you are interested in learning more about our available cats for adoption, click HERE!