Teresa, has been working with feral cats for several years. Starting out fostering for a large rescue in Southern Ontario, Teresa found her “niche” with the scared and unsocialized cats when she found herself with her own feral who came to her from a scrap yard with three of her kittens.
Although it took time and a lot of patience, the cat was transformed and became her very first rehabilitated “feral”…Gizmo. Teresa was often called upon afterwards to assist in the socialization of ferals that would come into the rescue. Whether it was kittens or adults, she took on the challenge.
Upon her move to Northern Ontario, Teresa took a job at the North Bay and District Humane Society. During her time at the shelter, it was apparent that there are not as many resources, specifically for ferals in Northern Ontario, as there are with our partners to the south.
When working with community members in North Bay to trap and rehabilitate/home a feral colony, Teresa came across a group in Dorset, Ontario, The Cats of Paint Lake. Being the only feral rescue in the area, they assisted the shelter by taking and rehabilitating many of the cats from the colony.
This solidified Teresa’s thoughts that a feral cat rescue could and should be established for those cats that are often dismissed or forgotten about. Fast forward to September 2021.
As soon as Teresa laid eyes on Shady, she knew that he was scared, angry and definitely a cat that could be rehabilitated. She made it her mission to work with him to get him into his “furrever” home.
The transformation began. Not only for Shady, but for the staff at the shelter as well. Once thought of as an unrealistic adoption, staff and community were beginning to believe it could be done with time, patience and love.
By December 2021, Shady had gone from an angry cat to a quiet, sweet boy who was able to be handled by many around him. Teresa knew that he would be okay with anyone wanting to adopt him, the Shelter Manager and Teresa’s husband knew that Shady and Teresa had developed a special bond.
December 24th, Shady came to live with Teresa where he continues to live his best life.
A feral cat is a cat who lives outdoors and will avoid human interaction. They are typically not seen during the day and will run when approached. They can be very aggressive and almost always need to be live-trapped for capture.
Feeding the cat or cats (called a “clowder” or “colony”) may lead to some trust between the cat(s) and food provider however, it often takes a long period of time to develop. A stray cat (once owned) can become feral when outside for a long period, but often can come around quicker with time.
These cats are often not spayed or neutered, which leads to overpopulation that can be devastating to wildlife. TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) programs do exist; however, these colonies must be managed and are often frowned upon by cities.
In addition to overpopulation, devastation to wildlife, feral cats carry fleas, ticks and can carry various diseases that can lead to severe sickness and unnecessary suffering.
During that time, assessments will be made regarding temperament and health. The cat will receive emergent medical care if required when they first arrive however, they will for the most part, have some time to decompress.
Once their quarantine is over, if they are ready to be moved into the general foster room they will. It is important to remember when working with ferals, your timeline is not theirs. They determine how long they need and we will respect that timeline. If they are not ready for the foster room, they will be moved to a larger kennel for more room within the general foster room or placed in an experienced foster home.
Once Teresa feels the cat is ready for their “furrever” home, the cat will be posted for adoption. They will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.
Shady Acres has an Amazon Wishlist should you wish to purchase something for the rescue instead: https://a.co/f3xmTOM