For years now, volunteers in Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador have been trapping felines at a closed local landfill. The stray and feral cat population at the abandoned dump would have exploded if not for their efforts. But with the short reproduction cycle of felines, litters of new kittens are still repeatedly found. Sadly, people keep also abandoning unwanted cats at the “dump”, adding to the problem.
One-by-one, the TNR teams and rescuers keep doing their best to save each cat though. Over the years, they’ve saved dozens and dozens of felines from a difficult existence. This also means that as happy as this rescue story is, it’s not uncommon. Thankfully, what is common is the determination and dedication the rescuers show.
And for this family of abandoned dump cats, they wouldn’t be together today if not for those traits.
The location has been home to hundreds of homeless cats over the years. Although there is plenty of space at the abandoned dump, the cats needed shelter. Shelter from the harsh elements of the seasons. It was just this past January that the Deer Lake Kitty Rescue team was able to provide this for the cats.
MISSION DUMP KITTIES… there are still several homeless cats trying to survive at the now closed landfill site. We secured a shelter and feeding station today.
The next step is to monitor and see how many cats are living there. Then plan the rescue of the ‘friendlies’ and TNR (trap, neuter, return) of the ferals. One kitty at a time, we will make a difference!
Tanya Wight, administrator on the Deer Lake Kitty Rescue Facebook page shared the latest story with their supporters. It began with a teaser post on May 6th, 2019. In the photo there is a pile of barely 2-week-old neonatal kittens.
It’s been a whirlwind few days for kitty rescue… sneak peek… stay tuned for the full story.
The next morning, Tanya shared exactly what had happened during the nail biting rescue.
I woke Saturday morning with an overwhelming feeling that the kitty shelter at the dump needed tending to. Tom [Healey] and I headed up early Saturday afternoon. As we were refilling the feeders I caught a glimpse of a furry pile in the hay bin under the bedding shelf… 4 WEE KITTEN about 10 days old ❤️ but no momma!
We decided to set a couple of traps hoping to catch her when she returned to the shelter. We waited and waited and waited… 8 hours later she finally appeared. Sadly, she was spooked by the traps and promptly left the area.
We consulted with expert cat lady Janet [Reardon]. She felt the best chance for survival for the kittens was to take them and come back in the morning to try for momma again. So at 10 pm we gathered up the babies and drove to Corner Brook. [We] delivered them to Janet’s foster mom extraordinaire, Gail, who graciously offered to care for them. They would need to be bottle fed every 2 hours and kept warm. I left feeling sad that they were separated from their momma, but confident they would be okay under the wings of angel Gail.
The next morning they returned to the landfill to empty traps and still no sign of the mama cat.
Janet came up later that day to assist. After hours of waiting, Momma cat appeared just before dark but again avoided the trap. She did however enter the shelter, most likely looking for her kittens. Jeanette suggested that the best chance of catching this trap-shy kitty would be to confine her in the shelter and net her.
Tom went back the next day and set up a door hatch on the shelter entrance. Janet, Renee [Moss] and I set up the rescue sting late Monday evening, with prayers for success. Shortly after playing a kitten call sound track, momma appeared!
It was a tense 20 minutes before she finally went into the shelter. With a pull of the trap door rope, we finally had her inside the shelter. Janet skillfully entered the shelter and used a net to scoop her up and transfer her to a carrier. Our hearts were so happy knowing she would be reunited with her kittens that night ❤️
They knew that any time you can keep the kittens with the mama, that’s the best option for them all.
The reunion was flawless under the expert care of Janet. Momma and kittens are together again!
Today we have them settled into a private kennel in the kitty room. Momma May is timid but seems to know we are there to help. We are keeping the room quiet and visits short and non-intrusive for the next few days as they all adjust to their new home.
It’s been a stressful few days for momma, kittens and us rescue folks… but tonight all are resting easy with very content hearts.
I want to extend an EXTRA BIG THANK YOU to Earth Angels Janet and Gail for so selflessly giving of their time and expertise. I also want to extend a thank you to the Town of Deer Lake for partnering with us to set up the dump shelter last fall. The life’s of these 5 beautiful creatures were saved because of this shelter ❤️
Stay tuned for updates on Momma May, her kittens, and our continued efforts to improve the lives of the abandoned and feral feline souls who live at the landfill site.
Be sure to follow them on Facebook for all the abandoned dump cat updates!