Two women have taken on the task of providing for feral cats on St. George Island.
Helen Gore represented two properties in a housing development on St. George Island. That’s how she learned that 14 cats had been trapped and were destined to be sent to the county pound and euthanized.
She contacted friend and animal lover Cathy Buell and they took steps to rescue the doomed animals. The "Island 14" are now neutered, vaccinated and safe but they need your help and so do Gore and Buell.
The cats need forever homes. Gore and Buell are seeking partners to launch a trap, neuter and return program (TNR) on the island.
TNR is the method of feral cat control endorsed by Alley Cat Allies (ACA), a national organization to protect and stabilize feral cat populations.
According to the ACA website, “TNR involves humanely trapping stray and feral cats and having them vaccinated and spayed/neutered before returning them to their outdoor home. It is the only effective method of stabilizing outdoor cat colonies. As a result of TNR, the birth of new kittens in the colony slows down and eventually ends when all the cats are spayed/neutered. In addition, socialized cats and kittens are spayed/neutered and then often put up for adoption, causing an immediate reduction in the population size.
After using the cruel, costly catch and kill method for decades and failing to stabilize cat populations, local officials and animal control officers everywhere have realized that they need a completely different approach. Some TNR programs have now been in place for as many as 25 years.”
Apalachicola has already participated in several TNR initiatives funded by grants and by collections in countertop “cat house” boxes placed with local merchants.
Cats that have been neutered and returned to the outdoors display notched ears so they will not be taken to the vet a second time.
Buell and Gore hare happy that the programs in Apalachicola have been such a success, but now they want to take TNR to the island.
In the immediate future, they are seeking a volunteer to feed several small island cat colonies two or three days a week. They also need homes for the cats they have already rescued.
Buell said she has eight juvenile cats that are healthy, neutered and well socialized. They have had their shots and now need a place to live. A $25 donation is suggested for potential adopters and Buell said she would like to visit potential homes before placing any of the felines.
Gore and Buell say they have spent roughly $1300 on the 14 cats they saved from the needle.
Gore said, “That doesn’t count the gas used driving to and from the vet and countless hours traveling.”
She said about $700 of the money spent on medical care was donated by friends of South Carolina snowbird June Crawford, who runs a pet sitting business back home.
Buell and Gore have named their project St. George Island Cat Allies. They are already working in partnership with the Franklin County Humane Society and are seeking 501 C 3 not for profit status.
Down the road, the pair is looking for cooperators with veterinary training to help with medical procedures without traveling away from the county.
Gore said she is planning a meet and greet on the island early in May to promote SGI Cat Allies.
Buell is offering an unusual incentive to adopt one of her furry charges. She plans to show her 20-foot motorized catamaran in the Antique and Classic Boat Show this weekend and is offering a 30-minute boat ride to anybody who donated to the cause or qualifies to adopt a cat.
She is calling her incentive program “Save a kitty and Ride a Cat.”
If you want to help either by volunteering, making a donation or adopting a cat, please call at Gore 323-0123 or Buell at 370 1125.
You can also visit their website sgicatallies.com for more information