We have asked our volunteers to tell us a bit about their experience of volunteering with CCN: what is their motivation, what they do and whether they find it rewarding.
Here is what Laura has to say…
There are many reasons why I volunteer with Community Cats Network, but the main reason is my love of animals and my passion to help stray and feral cats to live a happy and healthy life.
The first sick cat I became aware of was a female calico that turned up on my doorstep one evening. It was obvious she was very sick. I was able to pick her up and took her to a local vet where she was treated for cat flu. I called her ‘Bubbles’ because of her runny nose. Over the following days she had a nice warm bed in my shed and received medication daily, but she was not recovering; in fact, she was getting worse. Again, I brought her to a vet where she got a blood test and unfortunately she tested positive for FeLV and had to be put to sleep. At this time I was only 18 years old and I knew very little about cats or any sickness they could develop. I found the whole thing very upsetting and could not understand how it had all happened. After that I started to look out for cats and any signs of sickness.
Cats, over the years, have been dealt a raw deal as it is the perception of many people that cats can fend for themselves. Around the area I live, over the years, I have seen many very sick and injured cats and I became really concerned that the population was increasing at an alarming rate. Many kittens born to feral mothers rarely survive because of illness such as cat flu etc.
It was very disheartening at first as many of the cats I picked up off the streets were in such a bad state that the only option was to euthanise. This was always done with consultation and advice from a vet. A lot of the time I spent taking beautiful cats off the streets with horrific injuries and diseases.
I became involved in Community Cats Network because TNR appealed to me. I never realised how many feral cats were in my area alone and what could really be achieved by Trap, Neuter and Return. Members of the public will feed a stray cat but many do not understand that when you feed a stray then you have a responsibility towards that animal. With Community Cats Network I have learned so much myself and one of the main things is that the public need to be educated on cat population control and cat welfare. An area benefits if a group of people come together to help neuter male and female cats and return them back to that area. This little colony will live happily together and will not allow another group of cats into the area. They play an important role in our community. This aspect of volunteering really appeals to me because healthy and neutered cats are allowed to live their lives and are safe in their own neighbourhood. They are easily identified with their tipped ears so they won’t be trapped again unless sick or injured.
I help out with TNR around the North Cork area, I meet the cats’ carers and make arrangements to go ahead with the projects. I trap the cats humanely, take them to the vets, care for them after surgery and release them the following day once they have recovered.
The ethos of Trap Neuter Return is one that I advocate to any neighbourhood and volunteering with an organisation such as Community Cat Network is satisfying because it means that less cats are suffering. Those that have been part of our TNR program are returned to their own colony where they can live out their lives as happier and healthier cats.
There are many ways to volunteer and support us to help the cats. For more information, visit our volunteering page. You can also join our “Helping Hands” Facebook group to keep updated of our various appeals.