Helping the Helpless
Society for the Friends of Ferals maintains several colonies of feral cats. Cats are fed every day, shelters are provided and any sick cats are given treatment. Our objective is to prevent sick and starving cats from becoming a nuisance to the community and to stem the spread of disease, such as feline leukemia. This is a picture of one of our first colonies.
Digby cat finds serenity in Freeport
Buddy Habs Fan
Buddy was a lost or abandoned cat found scrounging for food around an apartment complex in Digby. With the help of a concerned neighbour, Friends of Ferals rescued him, had him neutered, and found a permanent home for him as an indoor/outdoor cat in Freeport.
Buddy, renamed “Buddy Habs Fan” for their love of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, was adopted into a wonderful home by John and his daughter Tabatha. He has adapted well, stays close to home and always comes inside at night. They said Buddy rules the roost!
They love him, and when one of our volunteers went to visit him recently she could tell he’s a very, very happy cat. Here he is playing with a catnip kicker made by Friends of Ferals. Go Habs Go!
Fairy Tales do come true
Alice was found on the Digby Neck, emaciated, unaltered, and with terrible mouth issues. We have reason to believe that she was dumped outdoors before her former family moved away in July 2018.
Many teeth were missing and the ones that were still intact were rotten. After several appointments at the vet, she was spayed and all remaining teeth extracted. Friends of Ferals held a special online fundraiser to help with her vet bills and we thank each and every one of you for your support.
Friends of Ferals foster mom Linda cared for her throughout her surgeries and recovery. She was so sweet and we brought her to our annual Fall Fundraiser at the Digby Curling Club on a leash – she was the Belle of the Ball! She found her furever family at the fundraiser and is loving her new life with two dogs, an elderly cat and lots of animals outside. Her name is now Digby!
Barn Success Story
Maggie Mae and Peaches
In mid August 2018, Friends of Ferals received a call about 4 kittens that had been dumped behind a popular restaurant in Conway. The two oldest kittens, Maggie Mae and Peaches, wouldn't totally socialize and were homed as barn cats.
We have the following update from their cat mom: “Can't get over how well they have settled in. Both follow people around and love to be where the action is. Started off being food motivated but now they just like the attention. A real success story here, thanks for all your help.”
Hermie the Hermit and Hope
Feral cats usually live in colonies but old Hermie the Hermit and Hope have bonded as a couple and share their habitat. It’s a love story that began when Hope and her kittens, probably his, came along. She nursed them in his den that they also shared with raccoons that winter. An unlikely co-habitation agreement!
Their four kittens (“Woody”, “Sammie”, “Houdini” and “Heidi”) were fostered by Friends of Ferals and all were adopted into great homes.
After Friends of Ferals trapped Hope and had her spayed, she was not at all interested in becoming a house cat. She was TNR’d (trapped-neutered-returned) and returned to life as she knew it.
Hermie is a beautiful cat with a gentle soul who allows Gloria to touch his head when he is eating and Hope has brought a sense of peace and joy to his days. Hope is always quietly in the background, just behind him at feeding time. All of Hermie’s hair matts are now gone and he and Hope continue to live together in Digby, where our volunteer Gloria, with back-up from Carol, continues to feed them both daily.
Barn Patrol Agent
MEET PRINCE HARRY, our barn cat! He is about six months old, was dumped from a car in Little River about three months ago. He stayed briefly with a couple of neighbours, but could be glimpsed roaming the fields, slinking through the bushes. He visited me while I was building the chicken run, the most affectionate animal I’ve ever known. He craved attention, miaowing plaintively, happy to snuggle in my arms.
A neighbour let him in their house for a couple weeks so he could catch the mice that lived in there. Then, four weeks ago, he trotted up to me as I came out of the barn, calling loudly. He was a mess - bone thin, covered in fleas, in distress, a cut across his nose from a fight with something. I gently put him in Pete’s travelling kennel and we gave him milk and some cat food. We spoke with the local ‘Society for the Friends of Ferals’ and they made arrangements with the vet in Digby to have him treated.
The next day we drove him to the vet, where they neutered him, gave him medication for the multiple flea infections and the worms which were infesting him. I built a cozy space for Harry in the barn and over the past month we have nursed him back to health. We were told by the vet to keep him indoors for a while for his own safety. He is gaining weight and is frisky and incredibly fast and agile. He hangs out next to the chicken coop and they seem to be bonding! He will leap onto our backs and sit on our head, all the while talking to us non-stop! So far Harry has presented us with two mice and a shrew he caught inside the barn, princely gifts indeed!
Last week we drove back to town and he got his rabies and leukemia shots along with a good bill of health from the vet. Today, we left the door open and he is free to roam the fields and sleep in the barn. We hope he will come back to his new home. Time will tell...
Prince Harry’s story contributed by Joell and Jon, Little River – October 11, 2018
The dangers of being a Feral Cat
After many years of feeding Patchy by the Digby waterfront, sadly, Patchy has crossed the rainbow bridge. She was recently hit and killed by a thoughtless motorist travelling far too fast around that bend in the road and couldn’t be bothered to stop. An unknown woman stopped to lift her lifeless body off the road and a man who lives close by flagged us down to tell us.
Patchy was born feral and never knew anything else. She was born with chlamydia which effected her eyes but she was otherwise healthy and happy with our food and shelter.
She is now sleeping under a big spruce tree in Sue’s backyard, one of our long-time volunteers. Patchy will no longer be hungry, cold or scared.
Saved in Time
In March 2018, this beautiful boy was found emaciated and beaten to a pulp by another animal in Smiths Cove. He suffered from bite wounds to his neck, throat and chest.
We whisked Walter White off to the vet to have his injuries treated and have him neutered. Unfortunately, we discovered he tested positive FeLV. This would have meant certain death for him if he was deemed too feral to be socialized.
Lucky Boy! Walter turned out to be a “fraidy” not a feral. He settled in to his foster home very nicely and after 3 months of care, Walter White was adopted by a loving family in June 2018 who has another FeLV+ rescue cat in their home.
Home at last!
UPDATE September 3, 2018: Here is Walter White today with Heather's niece Amanda in Smiths Cove! (right)
From a Ditch to Paradise
Bart was found in a ditch in Bear River on May 14 and delivered immediately to our foster, Linda Titus, who named him Black Bart to give him a strong name. He was about 3 weeks old but very small. His mom may have abandoned him on purpose if he was the runt.
He was bottle fed and loved his bottle so much that he wouldn't give it up until he was 6 weeks old! He finally decided that wet food was ok and by the time he was 8 weeks old, his weight was where it should be. In the meantime, he had stolen the hearts of his foster family - even being groomed and taught manners by the adult cats in the household!
Guess what! After swearing they would only adopt older cats, Linda and Tim decided they couldn't give up Bart and adopted him! And just in time for Tim to finish a catio so Bart can safely enjoy fresh air with the other cats.
Safe at Last in Bear River
This is “Handsome Henry”. Three months ago he was Henry wild, he showed up at our composter just about New Years, eating what the rats left behind. We would call to him but like a scared rabbit he would run up the middle of the road like a shot, he would come by the same time every day so I started leaving food, and he found it and ate most and buried the rest.
Then one day he was sitting up from the composter staring at the house, I went out with food, he did bolt, but I’m sure he knew I was going to feed him. I got a hold of the Friends of Ferals, Christine Callaghan is her name, what a great help she was and still is (thought I knew cats, but have learned so much). We baited and trapped him and took him to vet to be fixed and checked, then we brought Henry home and gave him his own room, gave him yummy food, much much love and a lot of patience. He is now part of the pack of critters here, but is the most lovable cat I’ve ever met. He is now huggable handsome Henry. He has the biggest personality and I wouldn’t give him up for anything, he still runs to his room when not sure, we are still learning about Henry, he loves the dog crate (think he was in one maybe as a kitten) and any plastic bag, and here kitty kitty terrifies him (think that’s how he was gotten rid of).
I was lucky I found Henry or he found me, but there are so many more out there that are not OK, they don’t do OK if you drop them off, imagine living your life terrified and hungry. Please don’t get a pet unless your sure it’s staying no matter what, Henry does have feelings, he was not OK, but he will be now.
Henry's story contributed by Sam, Bear River - April 16, 2018
Rescued and Nursed Back to Health
Stuart the Giant Cat
Karen Cleveland has contributed a beautiful story about the life of Stuart, a feral cat rescued by Society for the Friends of Ferals who had battle scars from his years living outside. He required a great deal of medical attention and was lucky enough to be adopted by Karen and nursed back to health in a loving home.
Stuart LOVED being touched, picked up and cuddled. Food was on his mind 24/7 and after all that pampering, loved to fall asleep belly up or on top of you. He lived out his remaining years knowing love and tenderness. Read his full story here: The Story of Stuart the Giant Cat
Tip's Story: The Life of One Feral Cat
Born to be Free
Chris Callaghan has written a wonderful story about the life of Tip, a feral cat found at Fish Point who has weathered many storms. He is now over 15 years old which is remarkable for an outdoor cat. By providing food and shelter, feral cats can live well beyond the usual 3-year average life span. Read his full story here: TIPS-Story
Pregnant and Rescued from the Elements
Digby "Fred" and her Kittens
“Fred”, the very pregnant little girl that was brought to us on March 17, 2018 after getting lost or being dumped several weeks ago near Digby, finally had her babies yesterday.
For a young cat, probably having her first litter, she was a pro! Her first baby was born mid afternoon and the sixth arrived about three hours later. She got them all cleaned up and suckling, and she seems very pleased with her beautiful little family. Thank you to the kind family who noticed her in their neighbourhood, fed and sheltered her, then reached out when they realized she was pregnant. They couldn’t take her in because they have several indoor cats of their own, but they knew enough to ask for help instead of leaving her to fend on her own.
We hate to think of all the brave little mothers that have kittens outside in the cold, and then have to manage to feed them. These little ones will all end up in wonderful homes, and we don’t have to deal with six more feral cats struggling to survive.
From East Coast to West Coast
"Brad", now named Otis
Brad was born with a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia ("CH"). He is one of Society for the Friends of Ferals' rescue kittens we fostered for weeks then neutered in preparation for adoption.
In February 2018 he flew from coast-to-coast from Nova Scotia to British Columbia where he found his forever home with a companion CH cat, thanks to our friends at Wobble Nation. To find out more about cerebellar hypoplasia and to follow Otis, please visit their Facebook page: Wobble Nation
Employees Making a Difference
Conway Rescue Mission
In early Autumn 2017, Society for the Friends of Ferals received a call about some kittens who had been dumped near the Irving gas station in Conway. The Irving employee had contacted other rescue organizations and since no help had arrived, he contacted us. The staff at Irving and Tim Hortons had been feeding the dumped cats and were very concerned that they would venture out onto the highway and be killed. Kudos also to a woman at Walmart who managed to trap some of the kittens and get them adopted!
We managed to trap 4 kittens and an adult over a period of a week and were able to get all of them into foster homes. The kittens ranged in age from 3 to 7 months and needed socialization. They had been out in the fields between Irving, Tim’s and Walmart for at least a month and we're sure they had some bad experiences!
Three of the kittens and the adult, who we assumed was the mom (incorrectly as it turned out!) were polydactyls with huge paws, so we knew they were related. The other kitten was small but older and more feral. Our fosters, Joanne and Linda, did their magic and socialized all the kittens!
Sadly, two of the kittens died about a month later, Irving from panleukemia and the older kitten, Thelma, on the operating table when she was being prepared to be spayed. The vet believes she suffered either from a birth defect or genetic abnormalities. RIP Irving and Thelma.
The remaining two kittens, Uma and Timmy, went to our partner rescue in the city and were adopted very quickly after New Years 2018! The adult, Georgie, is the last holdout and we are moving him to a fantastic person in Halifax who is used to taming ferals. We really think Georgie wants to be loved but is still scared!
Sadly, people do dump unwanted kittens. If you have kittens who need good homes and the SPCA or local shelter are unable to help, please call or email us. We will take them if at all possible, arrange to have them vetted, altered and adopted through our partners in the city, and we will try to assist in getting the mom spayed so you never have to worry about future litters.
Kitten Adopted through a City Veterinarian
Home to Stay
Bella was a stray kitten rescued from behind a popular waterfront restaurant in the Town of Digby in March 2018.
Since January 2018, the elusive and frightened little Bella hid underneath a deck, trying to befriend other colony cats but not quite fitting in. Feeding her for weeks to gain her trust, we were finally able to trap her and bring her indoors. After several days in foster care with Gloria, Bella was brought to a cooperating vet in the City where she was quickly adopted.
Two weeks earlier, the two adorable little calicos on the right were also rescued in the Town of Digby and adopted through this same vet.
Lighthouse Keeper, downtown Digby
Princess is a gorgeous and friendly 4 year old cat who was first seen at the lighthouse in Downtown Digby summer of 2017. We assume she was dumped there. One of our colony caretakers then noticed Princess at one of our feeding stations when she came up meowing to be fed!
Our caretakers know the cats in each colony and Princess was new. We arranged to trap her but that wasn't necessary - we put a bowl of food in a carrier and she walked right in! Princess was fostered with one of our volunteers until she was able to be transported to the city where she was spayed and quickly adopted.
Springing into Action
Ava, Spot, Dolphie and Opie
Just before Christmas 2016, Chris, Lynda and Sue, armed with traps, hot tea and coffee, set out to trap the spring kittens at our managed colony. We had made several unsuccessful attempts over the summer but had to try once more before winter.
The fishplant workers had befriended them and had been sharing their lunch with them all summer and wanted to adopt them if they could be caught. Within 15 minutes, we had all three plus a grown cat who was from the year before. We whisked them off to be spayed and neutered. 3 boys and a girl!
The next day we brought them back and the workers took them home with the stipulation that if they couldn't tame them, they would bring them back to the colony. We are so happy to report that all cats settled in within a few days, the older one took a bit longer. They are all in loving homes and being spoiled rotten.
Ava was renamed "Princess Leia", Spot was renamed "Colby", Dolphie was renamed "Chunk" and "Opie" kept his name. Their new moms keep in touch and send us pictures. Opie now has a little brother.
Rescued from a Hoarding Situation
Smokey and Miss Autumn
In the fall of 2015, Society for the Friends of Ferals became aware of a serious hoarding situation in Digby. We managed to rescue four kittens that had been put outside. They were about four months old, and were very timid. However, after they were fostered by one of our members for several weeks, they became more trusting. This brother and sister were especially bonded to each other, so we were thrilled when they were adopted together, by a wonderful family.
“Smokey” and “Miss Autumn” are now fixed indoor cats and spoiled to pieces! Society for the Friends of Ferals has since trapped, spayed and neutered, and rehomed several other cats from that location.
Mama's Little Facebook Helper
In June 2015, Misty was abandoned at one of our feral colonies at about 12 weeks of age. She was of course not able to fend for herself as some people mistakenly think. Fortunately, she was only there one night. When we arrived to feed and realized she was not part of the colony, Sue took her to the vet for an examination and went home with her afterwards.
As you can see, she never left! Misty enjoys the good life with her older sister and her two brothers (all rescues). She trys to use her polydactyl front paws to help Sue on the computer and is getting better at it. Pretty soon she will have her own Facebook page!
Sadly, cats that are used to people really don’t fit in to colonies of feral cats. They are sometimes beaten up – or worse – by the dominant cats.
Third Time is the Charm
A full-grown cat and very handsome, Blue joined one of our colonies about 3 years ago. He was always the first one approaching us to be fed and after awhile, we discovered that we could pick him up! We trapped and neutered him, returned him to the colony, all the while keeping in mind that he was used to humans looking for a new home for him.
Blue first went to a senior who was very good to him. However, he became allergic and Blue needed to be rehomed again. The second home didn't work out either, but the third time was a charm – he found his “furever” home in Little River.