The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)

The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)

Vancouver Island volunteers making life easier feral cats

Food, veterinary services and more helps make a difference to abandoned cats in the region

Feral cats, wild cats, stray cats – we have many names for the mysterious felines we sometimes see peeking out from under our porches or darting into abandoned buildings.

Yet, most of them share a single destiny: short, difficult lives.

Fortunately for them, groups like the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) help make a difference.

Every day, Margarita Dominguez and her volunteers visit five cat colonies feeding the hungry felines, sometimes trapping them so the animals can get veterinary care, but often just giving them a loving pet.

“We are always on the go,” Dominguez, president of SAFARS, said.

RELATED: Strays and feral cats aided by new group

Feral cats are offsprings of abandoned cats. Feral cats have never lived with human beings and grow up fending for themselves.

According to the BCSPCA, because a female cat can become pregnant as young as 16 weeks of age and go on to have two or three litters a year, the feral cat population – and the problems associated with it – grows and perpetuates. In seven years, a single female cat and its kittens can produce 420,000 more cats.

Dominguez said since her group formed in 2012, the problem is still the same: people breeding cats and selling them as “cheap, cute, coloured fluffy kittens.” The abandoned cat problem arrives when the kittens start getting in heat, and the family cannot afford the thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills.

“At the second or third pregnancy, the mother cat is dumped in some bushes, and she becomes our problem,” Dominguez said.

The animal welfare group spends up to $20,000 for veterinary services such as spay and neutering and relies on community donations for pet food, supplies and monetary donations. It is always in search of foster homes for pregnant cats and farms for feral cats.

SAFARS does not apply for funding from any public organization, such as the District of Sooke or the BCSPCA, over what Dominguez calls too much red tape and “absurd corporate” rules. Her group is not a legal charity.

Dominguez said more help is needed to tame the feral cat problem, and the municipality needs to take more responsibility.

For years she has lobbied for an animal shelter in Sooke only to be turned aside by governing bodies.

“Over the years, every time a family calls us because they need assistance with feral cats that somebody dumped on their land, we run as fast as we can to help,” Dominguez said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

READ MORE: Dozen Metchosin ‘barn cats’ on the hunt for new homes



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

animal welfareBCSPCASookeWest Shore

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read