There’s a small cluster of islands off the northeast coast of Newfoundland called Little Bay Islands.
The residents are being relocated to the mainland and all services to the island will be shut down at the end of 2019. There is a large group of abandoned cats that need to be relocated and time is ticking. Spay Day HRM Society and Sonya’s Healing Animal SCARS have partnered with Sunshine Kitty Rescue and Deer Lake Rescue to help trap, transport and re-home as many cats as we can. This is a significant rescue mission as we need to rent vehicles, drive across two provinces, travel on two ferries, trap cats and return to Halifax with as many cats as we can capture. Once the cats are here we need to provide food and housing, veterinary care & spay/ neuter. We will sort friendly cats from feral (wild) ones and find them good homes. We will find barns where we can resettle the feral cats as working rodent control officers. The Nova Scotia SPCA has offered help and support and is fully endorsing the efforts of this mission.
Here’s a recent news story about the plight of the Little Bay Islands cats.
– MISSION UPDATES –
We will post updates about this mission here as it unfolds. Scroll down to see previous updates.
December 17, 2019 1700h – Interview with CBC Newfoundland Morning with Bernice Hillier, Martin Jones. Locate the December 17, 2019 episode and scroll ahead to the 12:15 mark to hear the interview.
December 17, 2019 1000h – Spay Day President Linda Felix is in the process of arranging veterinary care including spay/ neuter surgery for the LBI cats. A number of local veterinary hospitals have stepped up to help with this mission. We hope to have pics as the mission continues. In the meantime, here are a couple of pics of from the rescue centre:
Here’s a copy of an interview with VOCM Radio in St. John’s, NL from yesterday:
December 16, 2019 2130h – The rescue centre in Halifax, NS
December 16, 2019 2130h – Another news report from CTV NEWS
December 16, 2019 2000h – I dropped in to visit the cats at the Rescue Centre this morning and I was amazed at how well they were doing! They are understandably scared but they were quiet and not one showed any sign of aggression. This is VERY encouraging as many feral cats will be quite aggressive when first captured. Here are a few pics. I’m working on a video as well that I will post in a while.
December 16, 2019 0730h – THEY’RE HERE! Our rescue team arrived late last night and the Spay Day volunteers were ready to get to work. Everyone was carefully removed from their travel cages and transferred to their new living accommodations. According to Cindy, one of our team, “They were all super polite, are obviously used to people. No one is aggressive at all.” This bodes well for everyone having a great chance at getting a new home. Awesome work, guys! Here are a few pics taken in the wee hours:
A lovely quote from late last night from Layla, one of our volunteeers:
Sweet dreams, kitties. Welcome to Nova Scotia. We got everyone tucked safely into nice clean kennels without a hitch. They have wet and dry food, litterboxes and fresh water. The blankets protect them from stress and help prevent the spread of URI. We use careful protocols for disease control and the catetakers have it all down to a science. To my eyes, most of them appear quite strong an healthy. Well done, to all of you, trappers, organizers, caregivers, supporters, from both provinces.
Another comment from Tracey, one of our trappers:
These feral cats don’t have as much fear of humans as feral cats that we are used to seeing around here. The feral cats we see around here, many are chased, yelled at, and have things thrown at them by humans because they say they are seen as a nuisance. The cats in Little Bay Islands weren’t treated that way, And so their fear of humans isn’t as great. Although the majority of cats that we took back to Nova Scotia today won’t be adoptable into homes, but we’ll go to the barn program, I did see a few tonight that have the potential of being socialized and placed into loving homes. Thank you everyone for your kind words and support. It’s was a very stressful and hectic Drive to little Bay Islands and an even more stressful one going back to Port Au Basque as the weather both ways wasn’t the greatest and made driving very difficult and dangerous. We were also extremely lucky to be able to get the ferry out of Port of ask this morning and not be stuck in Port a basque with 38 cats in a cargo van. LOL
An update from Sonya Higgins:
37 cats from Little Bay Islands arrived in Halifax tonight. One kitten stayed with a rescue in NL. After the NS team left, the NL team stayed another day and trapped 4 more that will be transported here to Halifax at some point. So altogether this rescue mission saved 42 Little Bay Islands cats.
We had an amazing group tonight who made sure all the kitties were tucked in with clean linen, food and water. And I must say this, they are much nicer than Halifax ferals; quite calm and no major effects from their travels.
There are still a very small number of cats on Little Bay Islands, and residents have been provided traps and they will keep in touch with us rescuers
December 15, 2019 1800h – The rescuers have made it to Nova Scotia and are on the way home. Trapper Tracey said it was a “very rough crossing.” Thankfully they made it when they did because the ferries are now delayed until Tuesday due to the rough seas.
December 15, 2019 1730h – An update from Linda Felix, President of Spay Day HRM Society:
Team Spay Day rocks! This is just some of the group that worked today setting up our space and getting everything ready for the arrival of the cats from Little Bay Islands. In a half hour the cats will be on N.S. soil and will make their way to us. This is a hardworking and dedicated group that have helped so many cats. We’re so proud of the Spay Day volunteers; the most compassionate group ever.
Here’s where the cats will be housed once they arrive.
More from Linda Felix:
WOW WOW WOW. The community came out big time today to support the rescue of the Little Bay Islands cats. The supplies delivered were amazing, our volunteers were kept busy. It is absolutely heartwarming to see the support for this rescue initiative. Thank you to everyone who has supported in any way possible.
December 15, 2019 1400h – WE DID IT! We reached our Go Fund Me Campaign goal of $18,000 in record time! On behalf of Spay Day HRM Society and our partners I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this mission. You’ve helped make the future a whole lot brighter for a bunch of homeless cats. As Margaret Mead said,
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Hugh Chisholm, DVM (retired)
Vice President, Spay Day HRM Society
December 15, 2019 1330h – Rescuers from Sunshine Kitty Rescue and Deer Lake Rescue have stayed behind to round up the stragglers. We are so happy to have partnered with such kind, compassionate people. As Margaret Mead said, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Now for some pics from today’s activities:
And a couple of videos of one of the kittens trapped a couple of days ago…
Here’s a copy of a post from a Facebook page called Kintsugi that we’d like to share with you. Click on it to enlarge:
December 14, 2019 1020h – STATUS UPDATE
I just spoke with Tracy, one of our rescuers. She told me that they are safely settled for the night. The cats all have food and are doing fine, including the pregnant mothers. Everyone is warm and comfortable, including the rescue team. No need to worry. Hopefully there will be a break in the weather so they can make the ferry crossing tomorrow.
December 14, 2019 1830h – An update from Sonya Higgins:
Well it’s the moment we’ve been waiting for, we have a huge announcement! The G-CAT team Gloria Stewart, Cynthia Young, Ashley Laplante & Tracey Galusha have packed up the Vans with between 35 and 38 cats I think, and they have left Little Bay Islands and are on their way back to Nova Scotia! Unfortunately they had to cut their trip short, because bad weather told us that the ferries might not be travelling over the next few days. The Nova Scotia team will be ready to accept the kitties at our new LBI Mission Center.
All the Trappers from Newfoundland, Sunshine Kitty Rescue and Adoptions – Janice Alteen, Jeanette Reardon, & Samantha Payne, and Deer Lake Kitty Rescue – Tanya Wight and her team including Renee Moss, Tracy Wight, Tom Healey are the other beautiful ppl on Deer Lake Team staying on Little Bay Islands to continue to try to trap the remaining kittens and pregnant cat and any stragglers.
The great news is that the remaining residents of Little Bay Island, Mike and Georgina Parsons, are willing to feed any remaining kitties with the cat food we leave behind. We will make arrangements for the rest of the kitties to be shipped to Nova Scotia, if other Newfoundland rescues can trap the cats. We will arrange transportation. Otherwise, there was a possibility that another team of different trappers from Nova Scotia, including myself, might return to Newfoundland Before Christmas time.
Photo gallery of some of the rescued cats. Photos by Mike Parsons.
Another photo gallery from the rescue mission:
December 14, 2019 1300h – Some of the cats that have been trapped so far. Trapper Tracey says:
This is most of the ones that our Nova Scotia group have trapped on Mack’s Island. We have named ourselves THE G-CAT TEAM which stands for Gloria, Cynthia, Ashley and Tracey
December 14, 2019 1030h – Tracy sent this pic of a poor fella with a serious eye injury.
This is the trailer we’ve been trappin at. Actually so far we’ve got 19 cats from this one home. The other ladies are at other colonies around the island. This is called Mack’s Island where this trailer is.
We believe this is another pregnant female who’s eyeballing the traps.
December 14, 2019 0930h – 30 cats and counting!
The weather has warmed up since yesterday so our trappers are hoping to have a good day rounding up the remaining cats.
Trapper Janice from last night: Today was colder than any I had Experienced even when living in Wabash labrador. The Wind wasn’t high but it cut right through.
Here’s another one of the lucky ones:
There are lots of pregnant cats. A mother and babies living in some rocks. Lots of young ones around 4-5 months. There are a number of foxes on the island so the kittens are especially vulnerable.
The trappers are getting a lot of support from the locals.
People baked bread and made homemade jam and homemade soup and other Goods to send with the Trappers, because they knew there would be no where to purchase food on Little Bay Islands.
December 13, 2019 2300h – 28 cats trapped today!
From Linda Felix, Spay Day HRM Society President:
Things got real very quickly. As of 8:30 tonight trappers already caught 28 cats. There are lots of pregnant cats. A mother and babies living in some rocks. Lots of young ones around 4-5 months. This is such a worth while initiative. To quote Tracey: “Both the Newfoundland group and our group are in different areas trapping and we’re kicking butt. It’s freezing cold here.”
Great job ladies, very proud of you all. Team work. The Go Fund Me campaign has been posted for everyone who wants to support this campaign.
Another update from Tracey, one of our trappers:
Just want to give y’all an update on the health of the cats that we got so far. It’s kind of a mixed bag at this point. The juveniles seem to be pretty good with minimal sneezing. There’s one female that looks like she’s got pretty bad upper resp. There’s a couple of adult males that look pretty matted and like they’ve been through hell and back, but otherwise so far no serious injuries that we’ve seen.
December 13, 2019 1840h – Heather Wilson shared this on Facebook: My grade 6 girls making and selling candy cane mice for the Little Bay Islands cats.
They are students at Mount Pearl Intermediate in Newfoundland and Labrador. Great work girls!
December 13, 2019 1825h – A message from Tracy, one of our trappers:
I think we have over 15 cats by now. Both the Newfoundland group and our group are in different areas trapping and we’re kicking butt. It’s freezing cold here, tomorrow supposed to be + 1 degrees, so I’m hoping we’re going to fill our traps tomorrow. We have about four or five or six that are probably four or five months old. We know of a mother and small babies across the road in the Rocks, we’re going to try for them tomorrow. We’ve already seen a pregnant one here that we’re trying to trap, and the Newfoundland ladies already trapped a pregnant Mama she’s cuddled away in a nice cozy cat carrier in case she gives birth.
December 13, 2019 1820h – A heartwarming poem written by Julie Clarke:
‘Twas two weeks until Christmas and all through LBI,
The kitties were cold and hungry… they started to cry.
“There is no place for ferals”, “Why haven’t we been spayed?”,
“Now we are left to suffer consequences because of errors they made”.
The island was becoming vacant at such a rapid pace,
Every shelter is full. “We are lost and have no place”.
They hoped every day that someone would care,
Watching as the town grew dark and bare.
When up from Nova Scotia there arose such a clatter,
Two U-Haul vans were deployed to see what was the matter.
With help from the island elves carrying traps and tuna fish,
They were executing Linda Felix’s biggest Christmas wish.
After hours of dedication, planning, and long sleepless nights,
Fueled by love and Pepsi the solution was now in sight.
Off the ferry there came a faint sort of thunk,
Thousands supporting online, “These cats are not disposable, not junk”.
Seeking asylum from the bitter winds, on a window ledge they lay,
Peering into the distance on this special day.
Something was different… the kitties knew,
Today something would happen, it had to be true.
Kitties scurried and hurried toward the freshly set bait,
Little did they know what was to become of their fate.
Bundled up rescuers only have one mission on their mind,
Coming together so that no cat on LBI is left behind.
December 13, 2019 1810h – Our trappers report that they’ve caught 15 cats already! Here’s a pic of one of the first ones they trapped. His (her?) future just got a whole lot brighter.
December 13, 2019 1100h – A message from Linda Felix, President of Spay Day HRM Society:
Receiving some questions about babies, nursing mothers and cat care. Pleased to address them.
It was reported about six weeks ago that there were several very pregnant cats. They will be checking for lactating moms. We went prepared with small kitten traps, shelters large enough for mother and babies, baby formula. We have one lady on our team who has the duties of cat care. She is not a trapper. Gloria has much experience in cat care at the SPCA shelter in Dartmouth and is a valued member in cat care at our TNR centre. She knows how to handle feral cats. The cats will not be cold or left alone. Our group has opted not to stay in a home and will be sleeping with the cats and they brought heaters. It is winter and we must ensure the cats do not freeze and are properly cared for.
And we are not there alone. It is a must that large projects like this take place in partnership with local organizations. If any cats have visible injuries that require emergency veterinary care, tiny babies in need , they will not be transported to mainland N.S. and will go with local groups to receive emergency veterinary attention.
Our concern is always for the well-being of the cats. This is a cat program, not a people program. Our motto is always to do the best thing for the cats and that has guided our way for the past 9 years.
December 13, 2019 0930h – Looks like a clear morning as the crew approaches Little Bay Islands. It’s going to be a long, cold day!
December 13, 2019 0915h -Morning temperature in the area was -22 Celsius with the wind chill! It looks like the ferry is going to leave. Earlier reports were that it had been postponed due to high winds. Good luck ladies!
December 13, 2019 0900h – Some pics of the morning drive from Corner Brook to the Little Bay Island Ferry:
The view from the hotel window last night:
Heading to the Little Bay Island ferry:
December 12, 2019 1800h – From the Spay Day Nova Scotia Facebook Page:
Partnerships matter. Large scale projects are not possible without help. We would like to thank the Hotel Corner Brook for donating rooms tonight for our team from Nova Scotia. The NS SPCA is extending their help and support. We have an on-going partnership for TNR in the Halifax area and we are extending it to this special project. They are lending us a temporary location to house the cats. We will have access to their veterinary clinic services for the cats. And they have agreed to accept any cats for adoption that are found to be friendly with people. We will pool resources for barn homes if cats are found not to be adoptable. We have a proven track record of success for working together and together we can do more.
December 12, 2019 1330h – These were the conditions our cat rescuers faced as they raced to catch the last ferry to Corner Brook, Newfoundland yesterday.
Today they are purchasing food and more supplies in Corner Brook. Having hot showers and hot meals, rest as they prepare for 3 days of trapping. The remote area where they are heading has no cell services, no running water, none of the comforts except what they are bringing with them. Very early tomorrow morning they will join up with cat rescuers and trappers that are assembling from all over Newfoundland to make the trek to Little Bay Islands. GO LADIES GO!