Cloyne is like many other villages and towns in Ireland, inhabited by a sometimes invisible population of feral cats. I had rarely came across any feral cats in Cloyne, although I knew there were some, hiding in gardens and probably coming out at night. Of course, this was something that was at the back of my mind and I had discussed it a few times with Sinead Falvey, our local vet. However, the fact that I could not see the cats made it a bit less of a reality.
Last winter though, I encountered one of these invisible cats, Little Tom. Little Tom and I only met for a very short time, but his memory will stay forever with me. I remember holding his sick body against me; it bear the marks of human indifference. No cat who would have been a little cared for would have ended in such a state. He was put to sleep the very same day he was found as it was too late for him. On that day, I also decided that I would do something for the Cloyne Community Cats.
At the time, I was working on the Ballycotton Feral Project. This project proved to be very successful. It was entirely funded by the community and we neutered 40 cats. I knew it would take time before I would get around to organise a similar project in Cloyne, but I also knew it would eventually happen.
We often hear from people that these are not their cats and, therefore, nobody wants to take responsibility for them. In fact, these cats are part of the community, they provide a service in keeping the rats and mice away in exchange of a bit of food and shelter, and should thus be everybody’s responsibility. Being responsible means that we have to get these cats neutered because there is such a problem of cat over-population in Ireland and every year too many kittens are born and die in suffering. Others might manage to grow older, but will eventually end up like Little Tom, dying alone on a car park. By having the cats neutered, we can prevent the births of many unwanted kittens, but also the spread of disease amongst feral, as well as our own domestic cats.
The Cloyne TNR Project was born on the day Little Tom was picked up on the car park. A few months later it is finally becoming concrete and I hope the community of Cloyne will be receptive to this project.
Make a donation to support the Cloyne TNR Project.