KITTEN CUDDLES - Tracy Hayden and Vanessa Caird cuddle with some of Alley Cats Rescue Society's kittens. The registered charity is holding a garage sale June 28-30.

Love for cats led to organization’s formation

Alley Cats Rescue Society aims to help control local feral cat population

Alley Cats Rescue Society is one of a kind in Red Deer, but has a goal in common with many other organizations: provide health and homes to unwanted animals.

The goal of Alley Cats of course, though, is as its name states, to rescue felines. Founder Vanessa Caird said the organization came about from her love of cats and a visible need for population control amongst feral street cats.

“We do this because there are too many homeless cats running around the streets and people don’t recognize that they need help and somewhere to go. This is a problem we have created and now we have to help fix it,” said Caird.

The registered charity is run out of Caird’s home as well as two others where they have large cage units to be able to house the animals while they recover from being fixed as well as any illnesses or injuries they come to Alley Cats with.

“We also have a large space at Parkland Vet. Without that we would not be able to house as many cats as we do. They also have an adoption cage out front for us. Without this location it just wouldn’t be possible.”

Caird said the first step for the Alley Cats rescue process is to physically get out on the streets and into business industrial parks as well as trailer courts where the cat populations need to be controlled. “Once every week or two we go and park the car and get out and look. Usually, almost always, we find some cats.”

Many of the cats that are trapped are considered feral and are ultimately fixed, vaccinated, de-wormed and treated for ear mites before being released again where they came from.

“This is their home, we can’t just relocate them. But we can control the population. We get a lot of slack regarding why we don’t just euthanize them but I can’t imagine doing that to a perfectly good cat just because it’s wild.”

Caird said one of the most important things for people to know is to call Alley Cats if they see kittens because when they are young, they can be domesticated.

“Once those blue eyes are gone and they’re a bit bigger it’s too late. We need people to call us and let us know about kittens because if we don’t know where they are we can’t help.”

Cats rescued by Alley Cats are available for adoption through both Parkland Vet and Petsmart.

Caird said volunteers with Alley Cats couldn’t just turn their backs on cats in need because of capacity limitations because it would just compound the problem and create more feral cats. “Alley Cats was needed here because the other organizations are too swamped with people surrendering cats. Somebody has to clean up the mess of street cats.”

Caird said their ultimate dream would be to have a feral cat release site where they could easily feed and take care of the population of feral cats outside of City limits.

“Farmers are also welcome to request cats if they’re willing to meet some criteria. We had one lady take 12 cats and she housed them and took care of them, and that’s just incredible.”

Alley Cats is hosting a garage sale from June 28-30 at 58 Donald Cl. It will run from 2 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. on Saturday. Donations are welcome to be dropped off at the location prior to these dates.

All funds raised go to cover vet bills, expenses and to complete a cathouse as well.

“This is a horrible season of what we call kitten hoarding because we can’t just leave the kittens out there. There is never a limit. If we know they’re there, they need to be taken in.”

Monetary donations can also be made through www.canadahelps.org by looking up Alley Cats Rescue Society. The public is also welcomed to follow their facebook page for updates, fundraisers, and photographs.

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com