Little Bay Islands Rescue Mission – Page Two
December 22, 2019 1500h –
From the Little Bay Islands Cat Rescue Mission Facebook Page:
How do you say thank you when thank you isn’t enough?
When complete strangers come together to support your biggest wish? To make what seemed impossible not only possible, but reality!
I know I have said this a few times in the past couple of weeks, but there just aren’t words…
There are so many emotions, so much I would like to say to every single person involved. But, in the end, Thank You will have to do.
Thank you for stepping up, for understanding what we knew… That these beautiful souls were worth saving. For leaving the comfort of your own beds to fight for them. For traveling near and far to ensure #NoCatLeftBehind
Thank you for the insane number of hours put into the planning and preparation of this incredible mission, from the initial phone calls to the huge daily task of caring for these cats.
Thank you for the amazing outpouring of support for our cause, and for helping to highlight the plight of so many other worthy animals still needing help. Thank you to every person who donated, who volunteers, who posts and shares messages of encouragement and support.
Thank you to Carol Hull and the other amazing people of my little hometown for caring for these babies so well that they are incredibly healthy and adjusting well to their new environment and to people!
Thank you to Jeanette for a second trip to LBI and saving every last one, and to Georgina and Mike for their continued help and support.
Finally, Thank you to Linda Felix and Spay Day, Sonya D Higgins and Healing Animal SCARS, Jeanette Reardon and Janice Higgins from Sunshine Kitty Rescue and Deer Lake Kitty Rescue, and to the amazing women that joined them to make this dream happen. Thank you also for the incredible veterinary care being provided to these lucky cats.
If I have missed anyone it is not intentional. I love you ALL
– Colleen Roberts
A Facebook Post from Sonya Higgins:
Jeanette Reardon is on her way back from Little Bay islands with two cats and two kittens. She stayed an extra day and night to walk all over the island and make sure there were no cat tracks.
We are extremely grateful for her dedication!
Many thanks to Georgina Parsons for her Hospitality! Not only did she ensure that Janet had a place to stay, but she brought her fresh coffee and bagels in the morning, let Janet use her house to get a nice shower, and just was an all-around hospitable Newfoundlander!
I am extremely grateful to every single person who has been a part of this life-saving project!
From the Kintsugi Facebook Page (this page is from the folks remaining on Little Bay Islands):
Thanks to Janet the remaining cats have been rescued and they left on the 9:30 ferry this morning. She leaves with two cats and two kittens and spent an extra day monitoring traps and tracks and there does not appear to be any cats left behind. A huge thank you to Janet for returning for the remaining animals and to all the volunteers from all organizations.
December 22, 2019 0750h – From Spay Day HRM Society President, Linda Felix:
Very happy to report that within a week of arrival, all the LBI cats have received veterinary care. 3 cats are on antibiotics for upper resp infection and will be neutered when they are better. The cat with the severe eye injury has had his eye removed. Everyone has had worm treatment, been tested for feluk & fiv (negative), vaccines and a check up, spays & neuters done. We would like to thank all the veterinary professionals who came forward to help the LBI cats: Dr. Heather Mosher & the staff at the Tantallon Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Allison Pollard & the staff at the SPCA clinic, Dr. Hammid & Dr. Khan at the Lady Hammond Animal Hospital, Dr. Susan Brown & the staff at the Spryfield Animal Hospital, and Dr. Celeste Forgeron & the staff at the Eastern Shore Veterinary Hospital. It is amazing that all 37 cats could be addressed so quickly and in the holiday season. Everyone involved went above and beyond to help with the Little Bay Islands NL cats and we know they have received the best veterinary care possible thanks to the wonderful clinics listed above.
December 21, 2019 1030h – UPDATE: another batch went for spay/ neuter surgery yesterday and the last ones are scheduled for today. Things are going very well thanks to a very dedicated group of volunteer caregivers. It’s a LOT of work looking after this many cats – food, water, clean litter, clean bedding, cuddles, medication… I’m tired just thinking about it! We even have people willing to come in over the Christmas holidays. How many businesses can say that they have staff willing to come in and work FOR NOTHING on Christmas Day? We are so thankful that we are blessed with such caring folks.
I know you’re waiting for more pics so here ya go:
And a heartwarming video –
Another one –
December 20, 2019 1715h – A few more pics from the Rescue Centre today –
Ha! Ha! Quality Street – kinda sums up the future for these cats, don’t you think?
December 20, 2019 1000h – Another update from our President, Linda Felix:
Our priority right now is to get everyone veterinary care, spays/neuters. Dead worms showing in the stool of the ones already treated. Overall the cats are in great shape, not even the usual fleas and ear mites. 3 being treated for URI (upper respiratory infection) and on antibiotics. They can all recover over Christmas. Evaluations for personalities is on-going. Now that they are settled in, some showing as true ferals, some showing as more friendly. I have an offer for an indoor life for the cat that had his eye removed yesterday.
– He will be living in a home with another one-eyed cat.
The 3 URI cats can only have surgery when they are recovered. Everyone else will be spayed/neutered by tomorrow. We have had lots of good offers, some from folks with a family connection to LBI.
December 20, 2019 0930h – Dr. Heather Mosher and the team at Tantallon Veterinary Hospital spayed/ neutered the first ten LBI cats on Wednesday. Our President, Linda Felix, says:
Dr. Mosher is a huge supporter of rescued animals and we appreciate the support. 6 females and 4 males were spayed/neutered.
Ten LBI cats headed to see Dr. Susan Brown & the staff at the Spryfield Animal Hospital today & 8 cats headed to see Dr. Hammid & Dr. Khan at the Lady Hammond Animal Hospital. I hope to have more pics from them later tonight. Stay tuned.
December 19, 2019 2230h – Everyone is doing pretty well. Some are recovering from spay/ neuter surgery they had yesterday. One had to have an eye removed today due to a severe injury. Tomorrow is a big surgery day – 17 cats are scheduled to go for spay/ neuter and the last 5 will be done on Saturday.
How about this?!!
Are you getting tired of pics? I didn’t think so…
December 19, 2019 1030h – Here is a gallery of recent pics from the Rescue Centre:
December 19, 2019 0930h – An addendum to yesterday’s interview with Cynthia Young:
Oh I forgot to add: Little Bay Island is a special beautiful place. Everyone that we met there, many knowing who we were and why we were there before we had to say. All very friendly and genuinely very appreciative of what we were doing. So many of the island residents care a great deal for these cats and were finally relieved to know that help had arrived. I feel very sad for the people having to leave this beautiful place as it seems everyone helps one another and knows each other well there. Not everyone qualified for the buy out but had to leave anyways. Some I heard are keeping their homes as summer places to return to. The day we were going there were people going over on the ferry with us to physically move a 87 year old man that lived on Mack’s island his whole life and didn’t want to leave but had to. That made me very sad. I’m in awe though of Georgina and Mike Parson’s that will be solely living there alone as the only permanent residents of the Island after the shutdown. As with everyone else we met, they too have hearts of gold and a serious soft spot in their hearts for the Cats of Little Bay Island.
December 18, 2019 1130h – Today I’m posting an interview with one of our rescuers – Cynthia Young – who actually made the trip to Newfoundland to trap the Little Bay Islands homeless cats. Most of us have never been on a mission like this so it gives us a feeling for what it would be like. I hope you enjoy reading about her adventure. Oh, and Cynthia also happens to be one of Spay Day HRM Society’s board members.
How did you feel when Linda first proposed the idea of traveling to LBI to trap feral cats?
My first thoughts that came to my mind when Linda contacted the board with her thoughts: and I was like: What? Who? Where is this? How many cats?
Second was how would these cats survive without caregivers that they have grown to depend on in respects to food/shelter/companionship even if for many were from a distance.
Third thought was I hope my hubby is ready to look after our crew at home as I got to go help save some of their distant cousins if we can sort out the logistics.
Describe the drive to N Sydney.
After we got the two vehicles packed up we headed on the road. We knew it wasn’t going to be a breeze trip up as it had already started to snow heavily by the time, we hit the highway. What should have taken roughly 4 ½ – 5 hours took almost 7 hours as many times we were driving under 70km hour on the highways on with our four way flashers on. Having to stop many times to clean off the wipers and windshield as at times it was snowing and freezing hail at the same time which was building up on the windshield making it hard to see. I think we were all white knuckling it at times but we slowly and safely forged on as we had a mission, knowing many lives depended on us being able to make it to the island.
Tell me about when you got to Sydney and found out that you needed to catch the evening ferry instead of the one the next morning.
We finally arrived still happy, but way later than expected at our host home for the night (Tracey’s mothers Mary Hines) as we expected to get a good nights rest and then catch the morning crossing from Sydney to Port Aux Basque at 11:45 AM. That’s where plan change #1 popped up. We no sooner walked into the door thank Mary for her opening her home to us and Tracey phone rang. Marine Atlantic, advising us that our ferry crossing the next morning was cancelled. The evening crossing the next evening was up in the air. So we asked what about that nights crossing. We were asked where we currently were and we said within 15-20 minutes away. The clerk from Marine Atlantic said if we could get there right away that they would change our reservation and we could indeed leave on that night’s ferry. We quickly said good by to Mary and headed back out to our trucks we just got out of and headed to the Ferry Terminal, hoping that we could get beds for the 7 hour crossing knowing we needed sleep and would me driving roughly 2.5 hours more to Corner Brook once we were off on the NFLD side.
Mary waved us off wishing us a safe continued journey never even getting the chance to tell us that she had made a fabulous stew that we wouldn’t get a chance to smell let alone eat. (Sorry Nana Mary I know your food is awesome)
How was the ferry ride across to NL?
We got to the ferry with little time to spare, re-thinking plans in our head with the quick travel changes. Thankfully we were able to book a 4-person room and after getting a few snacks, Gravol all around down the hatch we got quickly changed and crawled into out beds for the night. The crossing was relatively uneventful (two of us having never crossed by ferry before and the other 2 that have saying it was a mild crossing. Off the Ferry and onto Corner Brook… 2 ½ more of driving in again in the dark for parts and some form of crazy wind/snow.
Where did you stay in Corner Brook and what was it like?
As we were heading into Corner Brook forecasts – 100km winds and snow, with snow squalls forecasted for roughly less then 2 hours after we were due to arrive in Corner Brook. Change # 2 Supplies would be first on the list to get as we were planning on picking up supplies in the area of food, and fuels that we would need for our time on the island since we were already aware the only supplies we would have is whatever we brought ourselves knowing we most likely would have electricity, no running water (so no toilets) and heat unlikely. We were prepared all bringing lots of warm clothes and sleeping gear as well as electric heaters and kerosene as well on the off chance we were without power as well.
We gathered all that we could think of from lists we each made and more things that came to our minds on the way up and was added to the list. Then went to our accommodations that were donated for the night at the Corner Brook Hotel. The staff more than accommodating and helpful. We no sooner got settled into the hotel and Mother Nature showed us again she was the boss and whipped up white out conditions at times so you could barely see across the street. Hot showers were had by all and the comfy beds were savored as we knew we wouldn’t have either again for about 3 days. *Baby wipes are a girls best friend*
I hear the drive across Newfoundland was a challenge – can you share some details? Did you see any moose or other wildlife?
On our travel from Port aux Basque to Corner Brook I am not sure exactly where but Tracey & myself (Cynthia) saw a moose just after it walked off the road and was down into the ditch. The two vehicles were keeping in contact by the passengers texting back and forth any info. Sadly, the second vehicle with Gloria and Ashley did not see the moose. We decided for a signal if we saw anymore so they could get a glimpse as well. Oddly there was never a time that we were driving from any location (except on Little Bay Islands) when the weather was our friend. We knew it was wintered and were prepared for crazy driving but not one day with clear roads, snowstorms, hail, pouring rain, over the top winds. It was typically 2 or combination of all four whenever we were in our vehicles.
How did it feel when you arrived at the LBI Ferry and found out that it was delayed? What was the ferry ride like?
We woke up early between 4-5am and headed on the road, quickly seeing the Corner Brook rescues at the local Tim Horton’s all heading the in the same direction to Pilley’s Island 2 ½ hours away to take the 30 minute ferry ride over to Little Bay Island. Thankfully we left early as we needed the extra time due to the weather, driving again in the dark, and of course it was snowing heavy again….hey it’s winter in NFLD. About 20 minutes before we got to the dock for Pilley’s Island ferry we got word that it was listed that the 9am crossing was cancelled. Change #3 coming??? We decided not to be deterred and decided to head straight for the ferry anyways, at least we would be in line for the next one at 1:45pm if all else failed. Success we get there and after about 10 minutes they did start to load the ferry. It can take roughly 16 cars and is similar some we have in Nova Scotia to travel to such islands like Brier Island. Thinking he ferry was cancelled our guide that not only knew were the colonies were but had the locations of the houses we and the cats would be staying in once trapped stopped. With quick calling and begging of the ferry master to hold off a few minutes Carol was able to make the ferry. Huge sigh out….off to Little Bay we sailed, Friday morning as originally planned, were we really getting back on schedule?
Describe the weather while you were on LBI.
Friday was bitterly cold, many layers were worn by all, with the cold I myself was wondering if we would catch many cats. Praying that news spread and that people had not fed them that morning so that they would be hungry to go into the live traps.
Saturday was a bit better but still pretty cold, however the sun showed it’s self for sunrise and then quickly disappeared. Bit disappointing as I had seen many pictures of the glorious sunrise/sunsets in photos but didn’t have much to see one in person.
Can you fill us in on the trapping adventure? When did you meet up with the local cat rescue team? What was it like working with strangers on their home turf? How were you treated by the locals? Where did you trap the cats (homes, garages, fields, etc)?
Since we travelled up with the Corner Brook crew and had a quick meeting on the ferry after we all found our “home bases” (where we would be sleeping) we quickly unloaded stuff not needed for trapping and got to work. Our house did have power, no running water and no heat even though there tank outside said there was half a tank of fuel…so close to heat but yet so far, so we set up the heaters we brought with us to make sure the cats were ok in the house, once trapped as they were bunking with us.
Where there were 4 colonies each of the 3 rescue teams worked on different ones, and a combination or people worked on the final location together. Deer Lake crew were coming in on the afternoon, so we had yet to meet them.
By fluke as we were heading out Tracey and I passed a guy (Shane) walking his dog and noticed he was wearing a Hydro NFLD jacket. We stopped to say hello and introduce ourselves, even though many who were on the island got word we were coming I assume as we met Georgina Parsons shortly after we stepped out of our vehicles (Georgina and her and her husband Mike will be the only 2 permanent residents left on the island come this winter) We told Shane why we were there and that we had no heat and asked if he knew anything about furnaces, he wasn’t really sure but knew of two electricians that were on the island and that they would stop off to see what could be done. (We retuned a few hours later to glorious, glorious heated home. ❤
Nova Scotia team headed to take on what was told to me the largest colony on Mack’s Island which is attached to Little Bay by a small wooden bridge on the back side of the island to where the ferry docks. All the cats we trapped were all outside and around a gentleman by the name of Chris home, who had been feeding and caring for this colony (as other residents had) for a long time. Once we explained our whole plan to him and was readily on board as he wanted the best for the cats like every resident we talked to. Everyone we talked to there cared about the cats and wanted the help greatly for them.
Can you tell us what it’s like trapping homeless cats? Where are the best locations for traps, what type of traps do you use, what do you use for bait, how do the cats react when they realize they’re trapped? What happens to them immediately after they’ve been trapped? Do they stay in the trap for transport? What do they do if they need to go to the litterbox? Do you feed them in the traps during transport?
Seeing that it was winter and there was the ability to see the tracks in the snow of the cats it was easier then in summer to figure out where to set traps as you could see where they were travelling and be able to set a trap in that location. We brought a variety of brands of traps with us, including live traps which is typical for catching one cat at a time. (however many of us can attest to at times getting 2 cats in the same trap over our trapping time experience, not on this trip that I am aware though) We also had drop traps with us which is useful for catching multiple cats at one time or mothers and kittens eating together to get a whole family. Also as a back up we brought a kennel trap as well in to make sure we could catch as many as possible and want make sure we had something to switch to if they got smart to one type of trap. We had different types of bait such as dry food, wet cat food, tuna and sardines to make the traps enticing to the cat.
Once the cats are trapped we would bring them back to our vehicles to be transferred out of the trap into a Transfer Cages that were secured wire crates. Puppy pads were put in each one for the cats to be able to use for bathroom the Transfer cage is covered with a towel/blanket as it typically has a calming effect on cats to help them feel less exposed. Cats were then transported back to the house , placed in the room that each colony was designated and color coded as we want that if they were heading out to a barn home we want to send cats from the same colonies together. Once back at the house they were provided with some food. (Even though many feral/semi-feral/and many times friendlies do not eat or use the litter box or eat in the first day, they don’t understand that their world has been turned upside down but for the better.
Traps were then reset with new yummy food to catch the next cat. Many time we had 8-10 traps set in different locations close (all covered, so that if a cat was inside that other cats did not see when the door closed as we didn’t want them to get wise to what was happening.
Can you describe your accommodations while you were staying on LBI? Did you have any electricity , heat, indoor plumbing, beds? Did you get any sleep?
As described above we did have electricity, no indoor plumbing so a small bucket became our bathroom facilities, and heat came by the great hands of island electricians who without hesitation stepped up to fix our furnace so that it would work. On the island most of our group got 5-6 hours sleep the first night, waking at 7am, having a quick bite, quickly going over the days plan and heading out to trap again, being happy as the first night over 31 cats were trapped and traps were shut down by all trappers around 1am.
What food did you eat while you were there?
We each brought a variety of food like fruit, meats for sandwiches and the staple that all had was peanut butter and bread. A supporter for the NFLD group had made Chili and tea biscuits which they dropped off to share some with us. * It was very, very good and welcomed so a big thank you to whoever made it and , also to the other group for sharing with us. Everything we ate was more on the go as we all were running on adrenaline and stopping was not an option with our short time frame we would be on the island.
Why did you leave when you did?
Original plans were that we were going to leave either the 1130 ferry on Sunday in order to make the 5 hour drive get back to Port Aux Basque and get the night ferry at 1145 PM to get back to Nova Scotia.
Plan change #5? After reviewing weather reports and ferry details the decision was made to stop trapping (our count was now 38, however 37 returned with us as small kitten stayed back with the NFLD trappers to be adopted out) and to catch the 5pm Little Bay Ferry. We were afraid with some of the weather warning for the Marine Atlantic Ferry that if we didn’t leave then that it would be 2-3 days before we were able to get out of Newfoundland and could not risk that and have the cats waiting that long in their temporary housing. We then had Change #6 as we were supposed to originally catch the night ferry on Sunday night but that was tentatively cancelled. We changed our booking to the morning Sunday morning ferry. We packed up our trucks in record time, greatly in thanks to the help of the Newfoundland teams (who were able to stay behind to end up trapping 4 more cats between then and when they left the next day) and caught the 5pm ferry off. This even though we couldn’t know for absolute certainty was the correct decision for all living beings involved. However we didn’t know it would be an even tougher, nail biting return trip. We got off the LBI ferry and headed for Port Aux Basque. Nighttime darkness quickly closed in, the weather did it’s nastiness again with hail, snow rain and the dreaded high winds. At a portion passed Deer Lake we decided for safety we were unable to travel anymore and pulled over into a rest stop where a few truckers had already “setup shop” for the night. We talked to one that gave us more detailed information on the weather in both directions from not only himself, but other truckers and it was advised that we hunker down and wait for the winds to die down. We decided it was best to heed the advice of people that do this driving frequently and professionally. Seeing as we pretty much had full tanks gas to be to keep us warm, that’s just what we did for a few hours catching some on and off sleep, so did the kitties that were all safety secured in the travel carriers still with food and pee pads for travel. We spoke to both Linda Felix, Spay President, and Hugh Chisholm Spay Day Vice-President and a recently retired Veterinarian and advise them of our plan change.
When the winds died down and it started to get light a few hours later we started out again. Still windy and raining on and off in locations. Back on the road to Port aux Basque. Looking at reports our morning ferry was cancelled. We then made plans to find a location in doors (in a garge area) where we could do cat care by changing their pee pads if used and to add more food since it wouldn’t be until night that we would catch the Marine Atlantic ferry. That’s change # 7 now. A great gentleman in the area agreed to let us use their 3 Bay garage to do our cat care. We were about to call and reassemble the NS team when BAME change #8. We got the call that the morning ferry was back on and was leaving early and if we could get there right away we would be on it. Since we were less then 3 minutes away we got back in our truck and headed to the ferry. 20 minutes later we slowly drove onto the ferry, said good night to the kitties and followed Marine Atlantics directions when traveling with pets in your vehicles. Headed up to the passenger area exhausted and ready for some sleep.
Can you describe the return trip with the cats – ferry rides, driving, weather, road conditions, etc?
When we got off the ferry in Noa Scotia, for once we were greeted with clear roads, however the wind in many areas was still very high so it did play a small factor in our travel time back to Halifax.
We got off the ferry crossing which was more of 7 ½ or more. It was a much rougher crossing then our trip over. At one point I was laying fully on my stomach holding onto the corners of the mattress as I was thinking the rocking was going to tumble me out of bed. I thought of the kitties but knew that they were safely secured and securely strapped down in the van so that their transfer cages wouldn’t move. Hoping they in the silence of not having us humans around would get some sleep as well.
How did you feel when you found out that the ferry might be postponed for a few days? How did you feel when you made it onto the last ferry? Was it a rough crossing?
When at first we found out that our morning crossing was cancelled and the night one was still a go and the next two days were tentatively cancelled due to impending weather, our minds started kicking into gear to set up spots for care for the kitties during that time. Thankfully we did not have to put any of those plans into play and thank the ones that offered help that we did not have to accept.
What was the drive from N Sydney to Halifax like?
When we got off the ferry in Nova Scotia, for once we were greeted with clear roads, however the wind in many areas was still very high so it did play a small factor in our travel time back to Halifax. Also, where it was now dark again we knew we had to take care watching out for wildlife.
What time did you arrive at the rescue centre? Were you relieved? What kind of reception did you get from the volunteers?
I believe we finally arrived back at the LBI Rescue Kitty Centre at just after 10pm, exhausted, relieved and a bit giddy about the crazy trip we just been on. Many volunteers that were sitting there waiting jumped to action to help us get the kitties off the van, moved into clean transfer cages if required and then into clean covered kennels with plenty of fresh water, full bowls or wet & dry food, litter boxes and soft towels for beds. Many smiles all around, and we found out at that time the count was at 42 and arrangements were being made to get the other 4 kitties here to Nova Scotia to start their new lives.
Are you happy you made the trip? Would you do it again? Any advice to others who might be considering a similar project?
I do think we have some lessons learned, that’s how you make things better if/when you take on a similar type project again. However like everything, weather and winter suck, which is a given so you just always have to be ready to change plans on the fly and trying to think one-two step ahead of yourself to try and think of all the what if’s no matter how crazy it could be. If you don’t know what your doing research is key and getting advice/information from others that have done similar type trips to see problems/issues that popped up in their trip is always a good idea. Have a plan A, a plan B and a emergency Plan C you never know when your going to need them.
Have you recovered yet? 😉
That remains to be seen, some would say no I guess as I must be crazy to have done it all in the first place.But when you explain the facts none have been able to come up with a alternative viable solution.