Tag Archives: Volunteering

Street Collections 2019 – Round 1

 

Our first round of street collections will take place in the coming month. These events are important as they provide a vital source of income to support communities to neuter their local stray and feral cats. We are appealing to all for your support in donating an hour or two of your time to help out on the day. The success of these fundraisers rely on you and cats count on you!

Remember… A little bit of your time could change their lives forever!

Collection will take place on June 14th in Youghal, on June 27th in Mitchelstown and on July 5th in Whitegate.

Text 086 1583501 or email info@communitycats.ie if you can help.

The 2nd round will take place in September and October. You can view our diary here.

 

A few thoughts about CCN – by Mary W

To mark our 7th birthday, we have asked our volunteers to share a few thoughts about their experience with CCN.

Mary, our TNR coordinator in North Cork remembers how she started volunteering with the organisation in 2016.

“My journey with CCN began back in 2016. The first day of a new job, I was brought out the back by staff and introduced to mama cat and her kittens. It didn’t take much time before I realised there were quite a few other cats around too! I contacted a few organisations for help but it was CCN that came to our aid. I had done quite a bit of rescue work up to that point and was eager to continue, so our trapping session of work cats turned into a training session and I have been trapping for CCN in the Clonmel area ever since.

I had never worked solely with feral cats before, I had fed them, knew to be very careful with them and give them a wide berth but that was about it! My first solo trapping was a baptism of fire when a small colony of cats in the centre of town gave me the run around in freezing temperatures for a solid week. I got them, eventually, and learned that feral cats are some of the cleverest, quickest and most admirable of creatures I had ever come across. Over 200 cats later and I’m still learning!

Helping feral cats is different from any of the previous work I’ve done with rescue animals before. These animals are invisible to most, they hide in dark corners, they keep their suffering to themselves, they trust very few and have known nothing but hardship. For each single cat I trap I know I’ve just changed that cat’s life forever. For every cat I release I know its chances of a healthier life have increased immeasurably because someone cared enough to pick up the phone and ask for help. Of course, sometimes the call comes too late and the only kindness I can give is a merciful sleep. I’ve had my heart broken and cried as many tears over ferals as I have smiled and felt a rush of pride at releasing cats over the past 3 years. TNR is not easy on a personal level, it’s emotional, frustrating and physically draining at times but it’s not done for personal gain, it’s done for the cats. It’s done because these cats have been failed by people and deserve for someone to give up their time freely try make amends, and if a bit of time is all it takes to change a cats life forever then my time is truly well spent.”

 

 

Don’t forget to support our Birthday Raffle to raise fund to help even more cats.

A few thoughts about CCN – by Jackie

To mark our 7th birthday, we have asked our volunteers to share a few thoughts about their experience with CCN.

Jackie, our TNR coordinator in North Cork remembers how she started volunteering with the organisation in 2016.

“The first day I came across CCN was a day of chaos, panic and desperation. For years I had been trying to help cats who found their way to me. I had recently started feeding the most frightened cat he would run and hide, but when I left food and watched from a distance he would come for it. Then, one day my mother in law, who lived next door, said that there was a cat running around with insides coming out. After looking out and finding that blood had dripped everywhere, the panic set in. I was convinced it was a female having complications giving birth. I sought advice on a rescue page; Emilie answered and told me calmly she would send help. We managed to catch the cat and put him in a box, and CCN brought him to the vet. That cat changed my life completely – his name is Sam and he is still here. That day he had a ruptured testicle, which was instantly fixed by having him neutered.
I was in awe, and asked if I fundraised would they come and help in Mitchelstown. They agreed, so off I went!

Then I got the chance to go on the first trapping in Mitchelstown and I was hooked. It was that incredible feeling you get when you release cats that got me. The rest is hard work, but that moment when you open the door is magic – the hope and love lights up your soul.

My next few projects were all close to home and work, in places where I had loved these cats. So I brought home my first foster cat, I failed miserably at rehoming him. I knew tnr was the way to go for me, but have since managed to rehome all the foster cats I have taken in, so that’s an improvement! As some of you already know, Baylor -my failed foster- has a tendency to bring home stray cats he finds. It’s as if he felt it earned him his keep! Only this morning, I heard a foreign meow and on investigation discovered Baylor with a new cat, so trap is out and ready! And after 3 yrs and over 350 cats, my heart will still pound like a bass drum in my chest when I am about to trap the cat.”

 

Don’t forget to support our Birthday Raffle to raise fund to help even more cats.

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

As the new year is about to begin, I am pausing to reflect on the year gone by. It surely has been a year filled with mixed emotions. CCN has grown in strength as we now have more cat trapping volunteers and cover a wider area. This has resulted in an increasing number of cats being helped (see our stats). The support from our followers has also been truly amazing. They know what we do and support us accordingly. This is of course encouraging and keeps us motivated. However, the success of the organisation also has its drawbacks with an increasing number of calls coming in; no matter the time of the day or the day of the week, we are expected to be at the other end of the phone and to solve each and every problem immediately. Obviously, the fact that more people are looking for help for the cats is welcome, but the demands are often impossible to meet, which results in frustration on both parts.

Although CCN have achieved so much in the past six years, it remains a small organisation, run by a small number of very dedicated volunteers, human beings whose lives can at times be dictated by improving the welfare of cats. Yet, in the eye of the public, we are just an organisation, set up to resolve the problem of cat over-population. How we manage it is of very little concern to them. Since the inception of the organisation, we are aware of the dangers of compassion fatigue; however, we are drawn by a compulsion to help cats in need, we just cannot turn a blind eye. People who know us, be they friends or supporters, keep reminding us that we need to mind ourselves and they are right of course. Others involved in animal rescue know well what I am talking about as this is not something specific to CCN. When involved in animal welfare, you face a trojan task; it is all the more difficult that it can get emotional when witnessing on a daily basis the suffering of animals. Dealing with this and other personal problems can become dangerously challenging.

I recently met up with Maggie, co-founder of the organisation, and we were discussing those ambiguous feelings. We are truly amazed at what has been achieved, but we are also burnt out and wondering about how we can manage to cope. We decided to both take a hiatus for the rest of the year and encouraged other volunteers to also take some kind of a break, so that we could catch up with unfinished work, as well as mind ourselves and reflect about the future and how to better deal with it. I have decided to write this new year’s post in the first person because it expresses personal views, but also to remind the public that behind the name “Community Cats Network” are human beings who sometimes struggle to help animals in need and raise the funds to do so.

Behind the name “Community Cats Network” are a bunch of unpaid volunteers who will go above and beyond to help cats in need. However, for this to happen, we need to be treated with the respect that is due to any human being. What gives us the motivation is the ability to assist people who care for cats and to see the lives of these cats improved thanks to our efforts. Most who will read this post are supporters who are already aware of this, but I hope it also reaches out to others and make some understand that we can achieve a lot more by finding solutions together. We don’t see ourselves as heroes saving the lives of animals, rather we see ourselves as just regular people who are here to assist and guide communities in solving the very real problem of cat over-population, which more often than not also has its toll on the humans caring for the cats.

I don’t wish much for 2018, just that we can continue our mission peacefully and help many more cats and their people. Hopefully, we can make another little step forward to make this world a better place to live for cats.

I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate all the volunteers who keep CCN going: the cat trappers, the ones dealing with administration and fundraising and the ones who lend a helpful hand when they can and in the way they can; they all play a crucial role in helping cats in needs and it is thanks to this combination of forces that the organisation can achieve so much. The vets and vet nurses we work with also deserve a special mention for caring for the cats of course, but also as friendly ears and shoulders who help to keep our spirits uplifted. On behalf of all at CCN, I would like to thank the supporters, be they donors of funds or donors of kind words to keep us going, the organisation would not be without them. I wish you all and your furry friends a happy and healthy new year!

Em

Annual Street Collections 2017, Round 2

The second round of street collections has begun!

 

We kicked off yesterday in Fermoy and are so grateful to all the volunteers who donated a bit of their time to help raising funds for the local community to neuter stray and feral cats. The support was amazing and we are glad to announce that €591 were raised. Thank you to all who supported!

 

On the 29th of September, we will be collecting in Castlemartyr and would be grateful for any help you can give.

 

On the 20th of October, we will be in Carrigtohill (9am to 6pm). Please get in touch if you can help out!

 

Last but not least, we will be in Midleton on the 27th of October and really need helpers for it to be a success!

Thank you to all who offer their time to help out as the success of these collections depends on you!

Annual Street Collections 2017, Round 1

The season of street collections has begun for us.

We kicked off last week in Youghal and are so grateful to all the volunteers who donated a bit of their time to help raising funds for the local community to neuter stray and feral cats. The support was amazing and we are glad to announce that €574 were raised on the day. Thank you to all who supported!

On the 29th of June, we will be collecting in Mitchelstown and would be grateful for any help you can give.

On the 7th of July, we are back in East Cork with a collection in Whitegate (9am to 6pm). Please get in touch if you can help out!

We will have more collection after the summer: Fermoy on the 14th of September, Castlemartyr on the 29th of September, Carrigtohill on the 20th of October and finally Midleton on the 27th of October. Thank you to all who offer their time to help out as the success of these collections depends on you!

Street Collections 2016

We are looking for volunteers to help out at the following street collections. Please, consider donating an hour or two of your time to help us to raise some much needed funds for the local stray and feral cats!

Street collections 2016_web

Please email communitycatsnetwork@gmail.com or text 086 1583501 if you can help. Thanks!

11/06/16: Youghal

23/06/16: Mitchelstown

1/07/16: Whitegate

8/09/16: Fermoy

23/09/16: Castlemaryr

6/10/16: Mallow

14/10/16: Carrigtohill

21/10/16: Midleton

Volunteers in the Spotlight: David

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 David has to say…

I have been a cat owner and lover since the age of 12 and to date have had 5 different pet cats (Sparky, Fergie, Kiko, Smudge and Sooty), all with their own unique personalities. Smudge and Sooty (pictured) were my most recent recruits, coming from a loving country house on the border between South Tipperary and Kilkenny in 2012. Smudge was initially a lone pet, but we decided to get her a partner in Sooty, and after a short time Smudge accepted her and they became inseparable (One of Smudges sibling’s was also Sooty’s mother so maybe they sensed the family bond). Unfortunately life threw up a tragic path for Sooty as she became seriously ill in 2014 with the rare disease Primary Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anaemia. She fought the disease admirably for some time but eventually her condition and quality of life deteriorated to the extent that we had to let her slip away. I, personally will never forget the bond that I had with Sooty, and even on her sickest days she still had so much love to give. Also, to see how Smudge very obviously grieved for her when we lost her reiterated to me the affection that cats have for both their owners and their feline companions. This, I think is often lost on many people who view cats as being selfish animals devoid of emotions.

I had heard about CCN through a friend, and did some research into what they did. I had always had an interest in animal charity work, and did some fundraising work for the marine conservation charity Sea Shepherd Ireland previously, but had never really had the free time to commit to it, and donating clothes to the various animal charity shops was my way of contributing because of that. As is often the case in life in many ways, it took the tragedy of losing Sooty to kick start my interest in working with CCN. I had witnessed at close quarters the love that my cats had to give on a daily basis, and also the health and behavioural changes in Sooty during her illness, which were remarkable. Initially she had hidden the extent of her condition so well (a common ability in cats) that she was almost on deaths door when it got bad enough to rush her to the vet.  It is now clear to me that there are cats being neglected and suffering in this manner, in addition to losing their lives needlessly every day simply due to the issue of overbreeding and a lack of food and healthcare. These cats are born into this existence through no fault of their own, without the care of a loving home, and they deserve the care and protection of their communities, just as their domestic cats enjoy.

I was successful in gaining the newsletter editor and writer role with CCN in March 2015. I believe that the camera lens is one of the most powerful weapons in the modern world, and many animal welfare organisations have made significant strides due to getting their stories across into the media and the public’s consciousness. Since I joined CCN, I have been extremely impressed with the stories which I have read of their Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) work, which keeps the cat populations under control. These are always accompanied by a set of informative photographs which provide the reader with a clear idea of the dedication, patience and care which is needed to complete these projects. It is great to see people give up their own time to travel around (sometimes to several counties) with the sole aim of reducing the suffering and improving the health of Ireland’s feral cats. I am delighted to get the chance to put these stories in writing to educate the public on the overbreeding issue, and the potential solution which is available to them through TNR. To date, I have found it both interesting and rewarding to work on the first newsletter and Emilie has been very helpful at all times. I look forward to contributing more in the coming year and I would recommend CCN to anyone thinking about volunteering. “RIP Sooty. Gone but never forgotten”

Smudge and Sooty David Kelly

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.

 

Volunteers in the Spotlight: Laura M

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.

14 09 24 a web

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.

 

Volunteers in the Spotlight: Sara C

We have asked our volunteers to tell us a bit about their experience of volunteering with CCN, what is their motivation, what do they do and whether they find it rewarding.

Here is what Sara has to say…

Why do I try and help CCN and do I do enough are the questions I ask myself.   I used to live in Cork and moved back 3 years ago and came across CCN via their Facebook page. I really wanted to help as this small charity really appealed to me as they are trying to solve the root cause of a big problem and not just rehoming or feeding – But how could I help?

I was working full time doing shifts, and I was going back to University and with other family commitments, was I going to put my name down as a volunteer only to end up letting someone down?

So how did I start? Well, I was lucky enough to have some spare money so I made a big food donation – ordered very easily from Amazon and I made the order at midnight during my other online shopping J – so I set my thoughts on the fund raising side of things.  I work for a large company and have got a wide network of friends in Cork – most of these people either move home, have family and changing interests and therefore now and then they have a ‘clear out’ in their homes.  This started with things like toys, books, games and soon moved on to bigger and better things including computers, office furniture and bikes.   I remind all my network regularly about my collections, especially if I hear someone is moving house ! and then I collect and store any goods in my loft ready for the better weather when car boot sales are at their peak.   I do some of these myself but I have also connected with another lady who runs a lot of sales and also sells a lot of the content via the web.

For my Secret Santa at work for the past few years a group of us now ask for a contribution to CCN and people have ‘gifted’ donations for me for birthdays.

When I compare myself to others, I don’t do much – I collect stock, I sell calendars at Christmas, I man a stall now and then, I source gifts for raffles – but I DO SOMETHING and I really believe that every little helps.

13 06 03 CBS Blarney crop

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.