February 7, 2020 1030h – As of today, 28 cats have been placed in their new barn homes.
Pat Lee and Cindy Murphy made a trek to Upper Stewiacke earlier this week to drop off the final two LBI cats. Looks like these two will be living large in a beautiful horse barn.
From Pat Lee:
Lovely outing today to deliver Little Bae and Shylo to their beautiful new barn home in Upper Stewiacke. What a beautiful spot and set-up with homeowner Barb, sweet pup Jessie and several horses, including Norm and Cliff, and Clydesdale Henry. Barb was very appreciative of the goodies sent with the pair, who will start off in the tack room before moving to the barn. A fitting new home for our final LBI barn kitties.
We also have a couple of updates on previous placements:
Turnip & Labrador: Another little update on our kitties for you. They’re now freely coming and going from the barn during the day. The first couple days they went out, I was a but worried that they wouldn’t come back…but it turns out they know exactly where their food and shelter is. The grey fella prefers to stay in the barn for the most part and often lounges on the hay close to the horses. The black fella is more of an explorer. He stays out most of the time but stays pretty close and always comes in when he wants something to eat. They’re doing well
Lobster and Crabcake: The kitties are still pretty scared, but a little better each day. They are eating, drinking and using the washroom fine. I am not rushing them, I just talk to them the whole time I am in the feed room so they know my voice. (4+ times/day) I have been able to pat and scratch Crabcake. He is pretty chill. Lobster is pretty scared while I am in there, but I know he is getting more comfy in the room since he is in a different spot each time I go in…so he is exploring. I am keeping them in the feed room for now, as it is so cold out that I don’t want them to bolt off if they get scared and not be able to get them back to the warmth of the room.
January 28, 2020 1300h – Time for another weekly update. Now that things are winding down I will only post updates when we get some news. Here’s an update from Linda Felix, President of Spay Day HRM:
January 25, 2020 – We are in the process of winding down the Little Bay Islands cat rescue mission. 2/3 of the cats have been placed in barn homes. 4 have been adopted and the balance are in foster care for socialization. Today we officially vacated the care centre and returned all the borrowed equipment. So much has happened in six weeks but the most important thing is that together we all created a new and happier ending for the story of the abandoned feral cats of Little Bay Islands.
A few pics of some of the LBI Alumni:
January 20, 2020 1130h – Time for another quick update.
Here’s a great follow up story by CBC News.
We’ve received a few pics from some of the folks who adopted cats for their barns. It looks like they are settling in nicely.
One of our favourites, Joe Batt, has gone to a great foster home. He has a new name – Liam. He made a side trip to the vet en route to be vaccinated and microchipped. He seems to be happy with his new digs. He especially likes to go camping in his new tent.
January 12, 2020 1000h – A few of the LBI cats that came to NS went to Sonya’s Healing Animal SCARS cat rescue. Here is an update on their progress.
The day after the Nova Scotia team left, the Newfoundland Rescuers captured three kitties, two of them are about 4 months old and the other is 6 months old. These kittens were in Foster with Deer Lake Kitty rescue until I arranged transportation for them to come to Nova Scotia on December 27th. The four month old kittens are a beautiful black boy named Mummer and his black and white sister Jiggs. Then there was another black and white female about 6 months old who has been named Janney. Mummering is a Newfoundland Christmas time tradition where people dress up in strange clothing and visit neighbours for a touch of the holiday spirits and to dance a jig. For those who don’t know, Janneying is another word for mummering. We felt that Janney was a good name for her, short for my mother Janice Higgins Alteen and Janet (Jeanette) Reardon from Sunshine Kitty rescue in Corner Brook . The week after the original Rescue Mission, Janet Reardon returned alone to Little Bay islands to catch the remaining cats and kittens #NoCatLeftBehind
Jiggs name was chosen because it’s a Newfoundland traditional meal called Jiggs dinner with salt beef and boiled vegetables. Another spelling is Jig, a traditional Newfoundland dance.
Mummer and Jiggs are making amazing progress. They both approached me to be rubbed and they love to play with toys. They both purr when they are content, and like to lay on my belly for special cuddle time. When they first arrived, the three kitties were sharing a cage for a couple of days, but once they got accustomed to their new environment, they were given free range of the rescue room. I usually climb in the cage with the kitties to get them used to my body being close to them, before I let them roam around the room.
Pictures of the girl in the orange sweater is my step daughter Sidney who helps me socialize scared kitties like Jiggs.
It is easy to tell the difference between Janney and Jiggs, because Janney has a black spot on her chin.
When the three Newfie Amigos were allowed to explore the room, they climbed into the other Tower cage to check it out.
Janney really enjoys affection, but it has to be on her terms. She is still nervous but making progress everyday.
Lil G was destined go to a barn but I wanted to give her a chance to see if she could be socialized.
She allows me to touch her little bit and brush her, and she is even eating treats out of my hand. It may take a long while for her to be fully comfortable, but I think she is happier inside than out.
She was sequestered in a large Tower cage for a couple of days to get her used to her new surroundings, and she allowed me to pet her. After that we allowed her to explore the room with the other three cats from Little Bay islands and they all get along fine
January 11, 2020 2045h – Time for another update from Pat and Cindy, our barn delivery experts.
Cindy and I had a wonderful day delivering LBI kitties to their barns on Thursday. We took 7 cats to three different homes in the Annapolis Valley and in Hall’s Harbour on the Bay of Fundy. We met wonderful homeowners who are thrilled to share their space and care for the former Little Bay Islands kitties.
We dropped off the first pair — as always the kitties were sent with a mate (or two) from their former colony — near Aylesford where homeowner Nadine showed us her gorgeous new horse barn and new home for Turnip and Labrador. Needless to say, they have horses on site who will share the barn with the boys.
Next up was a visit with Nadine in Wilmot, who happily welcomed Crab Cakes and Lobster to her menagerie of big and little horses and chickens. She has enjoyed the company of barn cats in the past and was excited to meet her new pair.
Last stop with the trio of One-Eye (who had his eye removed upon arrival in N.S. and, we promise, will be given a better name!), Screech and Puffin was in beautiful Hall’s Harbour where homeowners Kathy and Wendy literally laid out the red carpet — welcoming the trio in their carpeted guest house off the main house (they deemed the barn too chilly this time of year for the new kitties). By the time we left, we could see Puffin, who had been quite unhappy the morning we packed him up, exploring and looking out a window.
Soon all of these kitties will be exploring their new outdoor environments and being integrated into barn/farm life.
We are pretty thrilled that these folks stepped up to help the LBI orphans. We look forward to hearing how they settle in!
by Cindy and me
A little update on the Halls Harbour crew dropped off yesterday (One-Eye, Screech and Puffin) from homeowner Wendy: “We are grateful that we were given the care of these precious cats; I hope they thrive and are happy with us. So far, so good. Overnight they ate, used the litterboxes, and knocked over a few things, so lots of exploring must have taken place! It will be fascinating to see them become themselves. Then I’ll be able to give them names!“
January 4, 2020 2000h – Cindy and Pat delivered more cats to barns earlier this week. Some of Cindy’s comments…
The ladies that I met were both very nice and were pleased to get the cats.
Delivering the cats offers a glimpse and some insights into farming here in N.S. As a young person I lived on a (mostly wheat) farm in Manitoba, so it’s an interesting look back.
As the LBI cats are being delivered to their new barn homes, I thought it might be interesting to hear from the barn cat program coordinator, Lesley Coolen. You can read my interview with her below:
I was thinking it would be useful for people in other areas to learn how you set up and run the barn cat program. How do you find/ contact people with barns?
Usually barns contact us looking for cats. We have a barn poster which we have posted on a few FB pages; Spay Day page, a few farming pages, kijiji, etc. We have also had success with word of mouth.
How do you decide if a barn/ owner qualify?
Once they email me, I explain that the cats are not adoptable, have been tested for disease and spayed or neutered. I do not use a generic response like the SPCA does as I want it to be more personal. I ask more about their property, location, livestock, cat experience, etc. Once they respond with more information, I do some of my own research on them. I also search them on FB, google earth their property, ask any contacts I have in the area, etc. Once I think it would be a suitable spot. I ask them about being able to secure the cat for 5-10 days.
What happens when you deliver the cat(s)? How many barns have you supplied with cats? Have any of the cats run away?
My experience has found that if it is held too long, they bolt out of fear of being locked up again. Not long enough and they may not return. I explain to them about offering hiding spots, not making eye contact, talking to them so they get used to their new person, send pics of the cooler shelters, etc. I am always available for questions and the owners know that. I field many questions from them.
How do you decide if it will be one or two cats?
The barn usually knows how many cats they would like to have. We do prefer to send in pairs if they are from large colonies, but some need to be on their own and some owners simply want just 1.
Is there any follow-up?
I email the barn about a week after they are placed to see how they are making out and to answer any questions they may have. I then like to follow up a few months later to see how things are.
Have any of the cats run away?
We have had cats who ran away, some have literally moved next door or across the road. They still see them but they have set up shop elsewhere. One has been hit by a car. These things happen and could have happened where they came from. Some of the owners get quite upset. My thoughts on it and I tell them as well is that: we offer them a better life or food and shelter. It is up to the cat if they decide to accept it or not. On the other hand, we have had quite a few that have become house cats as well.
How many barns have you supplied with cats?
To date, I have place over 230 cats. Most have multiples and we have had several repeat customers as they were so happy with their first cats.
I hope this helps. For me, it is not so cut and dry as I try to assess each spot on its own and I try to match the cats to the right fit. For example, I would never send a super feral cat to a spot where kids spend time in the barn.
One of the remaining kitties at the TNR Recovery Centre, Mikey:
Someone loves to play!
January 4, 2020 1930h – Just a few updates today. The biggest news is that Mr. Mom has been adopted! He’s the cat that everyone thought was a pregnant female and turned out to be a big lovable boy. We wish him well in his forever home.
The other news is that the LBI Rescue Centre is officially closed! Five more cats went to barns today and the remainder went to our regular TNR Recovery Centre.
Richard and Muffy are adjusting to life in foster care. They seem to be pretty relaxed, don’t you think?
Tracey’s foster kittens are also settling in pretty well too. They are no longer in cages and seem happy with that decision.
January 3, 2020 1000h – The LBI Rescue Centre is quickly being emptied as the cats move on. There are only 7 cats left and they will be moved out within the next little while.
The 12 cats in foster care are doing well.
It is becoming apparent that many of the cats we had hoped might be friendly are actually quite feral. No worries, we have more than enough barns on our waiting list to accommodate the cats.
Here’s a nice summary from Pat Lee, one of our volunteers, who dropped off some cats at barns yesterday.
Four more kitties went to their new barn homes today in the beautiful Annapolis Valley. Two homeowners took two kitties each who know each other from their former colonies on Little Bay Islands.
In both places, the kitties have new homes in beautiful comfy barns with hay lofts to explore, warm beds — and in each case barn mates like horses, donkeys, fainting goats or a miniature horse.
Sherry, one of the homeowners, has had many barn cats who have lived to ripe old ages and has a failed barn cat currently living in her home. One of the pair she took in today is a true feral and he looked very interested in taking up his duties on rodent patrol. We were also excited to meet her beautiful horse Molly, who used to have a barn cat curl up on her back for warmth.
Greg, just down the road, recently lost a beloved older barn cat and was very happy to meet the two youngsters who will be exploring his barn very soon — so happy in fact that their arrival was marked on a calendar in the barn. Greg also has fainting goats, horses (big and small) as well as a donkey named Jessie who does tricks for mints.
Here’s a video update from Tracey Galusha who is fostering four of the kittens.
January 1, 2020 1200h – HAPPY NEW YEAR!
An update from Linda Felix, President of Spay Day HRM Society:
The last Ferry from Little Bay Islands departed last night. This is an update on the cats. The Exploits Bay SPCA removed 24 friendlies and small kittens about a month before we arrived to help. In all we received 40 cats in Halifax. Plus 3 kittens went to Healing Animal SCARS rescue. And 3 kittens stayed with a rescue in NL. So all in all that makes 70 cats that were removed and it is in line with the #’s that were reported as needing help. At this end, so far 1 has gone to the SPCA for adoption, pictured here.
He has affectionately been named Mr. Mom as it was initially believed he was a pregnant female. We have 12 cats out in foster homes either for socialization or recovering from various medical issues (constipation, infection, fever, etc). We have 4 cats placed in barn homes, 4 cats being placed tomorrow and another 3 going on Monday. Some cats have been placed in our regular TNR centre to receive more people time with our volunteers in the hopes of more socialization. We are down to less than a dozen cats in our LBI care centre and as cats move out we are looking at vacating that space by the middle of January. ALL the cats we received from LBI have been spayed and neutered and received veterinary care, the last 3 arrivals were done yesterday. So our plans for the LBI cats are rolling out with much thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers and the support of the public with financial donations & food donations. Happy New Year 2020 to everyone and thank you for your support for a happier ending for the LBI cats who were soon to be abandoned as their human caregivers moved away.
It’s been a couple of days since I last updated the blog and a lot has happened. We’ve closed the Go Fund Me account as we raised well over our goal – thank you to all the generous donors!
I plan to continue periodically updating the blog with information, photos and videos as the LBI cats continue their journey into a new life. To our loyal followers from Newfoundland and Labrador – please feel free to pass along the blog address to your Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Gerry Byrne, as he expressed skepticism about the mission from the beginning. We are fortunate that the Nova Scotia Provincial Government as well as numerous municipal governments have learned the value of partnership with humane societies and rescue groups because together we can accomplish great things.
We aim to prove them wrong. None of the rescued LBI cats has been euthanized. Not one.
I know you’ve been waiting for pics and videos so here you go…
How do you safely socialize a semi-feral cat? You use a back scratcher, of course!
How do you safely give medication to a feral cat? You use a transfer cage to hold them steady while you slowly squirt the medicine in their mouth. Linda Felix, President of Spay Day HRM has a ton of experience with feral cats –
I know many veterinarians believe that feral cats cannot be treated for medical issues. That is largely not the case. Pills can be put in pill pockets and eaten by the cat. Injectable meds can be given while the cat has light sedation. In this instance, the feral transfer cage combined with the divider fork to closely contain the cat, allows Layla to administer liquid meds. The key is proper feral handling equipment. We always use the feral transfer cages. Cats can be sedated in the cage for the safety of both the cat and the people who will handle the cat. We have learned so much from every single TNR project we did, lots of it through trial and error. And we continue to learn. Some of it from other groups and the internet. Our volunteers have improvised equipment and ideas to suit situations. Feral cats are an interesting subject.
How do you successfully relocate feral cats? You set them up in a barn cat program. Feral cats are being delivered to local barns (we have a waiting list) to become rodent control officers. The cats are provided with shelter, food, water and close monitoring in return for their rodent control duties. They are kept indoors for the first 2-3 weeks so they become established in their new home. After that some cats are let outside while others may remain indoors depending upon the individual situation. Here you can see a few of the LBI feral cats being dropped off at their new homes.
Welcome home little feral kitties!
This beats trying to survive on an abandoned island!