Number of feral cats ‘exploding’

HEATHER WRIGHT PHOTO Julie Medeiros gives Muffin some love on a recent visit to the Petrolia feral cat colony. Medeiros and two others take turns feeding and watering the cats and making sure they’re warm. Recently, they’ve become concerned after young children damaged the colony and stole some kittens. See the story on page 8.

Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative

A group of Petrolia volunteers is being stretched to the limits as the need to help control the number of feral cats in Lambton grows.

The Caregivers of Petrolia Ferals is a grassroots group working to care for many of the abandoned cats in Petrolia for the past 28 years. While Petrolia remains the group’s base, member Julie Medeiros, said it has spread its focus in many parts of Lambton County to further rescue and help those cats, which have become feral. 

“It has just exploded,” said Medeiros, as the group has become better known beyond Petrolia. 

The group is currently feeding 40 cats at the colony, an outdoor shelter in Petrolia. All but two of these cats have been fixed. 

But Medeiros said they have a list of 47 places within the county which they have been notified of feral cats. 

And while the Petrolia group does as much as it can, Medeiros says it is expensive. She estimates it takes up to $350 to rescue a cat, which involves first trapping the cats, spay or neutering them and then having someone foster them while the animals recover from their surgery. Then they are released again. 

The Caregivers of Petrolia Ferals have about 25 volunteers involved in the effort, with seven of the members making sure the feral cats are fed at the colony, while the others act as fosters for the rescues.

What the group needs to reach out to more communities is cash. A Go Fund Me campaign is underway with a goal of raising $5,000 for care. Over $2,000 has been raised, so far. 

Medeiros says many people like to give food to the group, but currently what the group needs most is money so they can rescue as many cats as it can. 

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