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Local business, animal shelter host St. Catrick's Day (3 photos)

Need for adoption, spay and neutering highlighted at Saturday's event

It’s kitten season.

With that comes awareness of why animal lovers should consider adopting and properly caring for a cat.

Paw ’n Pet Food & Grooming at 628 Second Line West hosted a fundraiser/ information session/adoption event Saturday (known as St. Catrick’s Day), held by The Animal Assistance Group (TAAG).

“Every kitten season there are kittens under people’s sheds, and if they aren’t rescued they’re either going to die or they’re going to contract diseases like feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or if you don’t rescue them after two or three months, they go feral, and then they eventually procreate,” said TAAG’s Andrea Caldwell.

A feral cat is one which is born on the street, and, if not taken in and cared for by a human and domesticated in time, stays wild and cannot be kept as a pet.

“It’s atrocious, and these are the cats people don’t see,” Caldwell told SooToday.

“People let their cats roam around the city, they don’t spay or neuter, which is against our city bylaws, and if nobody’s enforcing that then they just multiply.”

Caldwell said she has recently rescued 15 feral kittens and fostered them (and their feral parents as well).

“I had 33 cats at one time, which I hope I never have to do again.”

“Spaying or neutering helps our community.”

Cat adoption is not an overly complicated process, but a would-be cat owner must be approved by appropriate authorities, including animal shelters like TAAG.

Those who would adopt a cat must have references, for example.

“We have to be careful not to give these cats over to someone who is going to neglect them,” Caldwell said.

It costs $125 to adopt a cat through TAAG, but those cats are spayed or neutered, have had their shots and tested for disease, Caldwell said.

“All that would cost up to $400 if you just grabbed a cat online,” Caldwell said.

“I think what TAAG does is educate people, because a lot of people are disconnected, they don’t know.”

For a donation at Saturday’s fundraiser, children could pop a green St. Patrick’s Day balloon, guess the number of marshmallow-covered candies in a jar, or make a straight donation to TAAG. 

Prizes included $25 off cat adoption fees, veterinarian shots, free feline testing, free spay or neuter or a free cat adoption (pending adoption approval).

A van was parked outside Paw ’n Pet Food & Grooming with pet food and supplies for TAAG.

Carrie Conforzi, a locally-based Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) officer, was also on hand to provide the public with information regarding the laws concerning animal abuse.

TAAG is located at 189 Elgin Street and can hold up to 25 cats.

It is currently at capacity, Caldwell said.