A cat tale's happy ending
A former White Rock resident is now settled in a new home in Vancouver – and seems likely to live out the remainder of his nine lives in comfort.
But until recently, things looked bad for Blue – a stray purebred Russian Blue – who’d spent much of his estimated three years living wild in the uptown Foster and Thrift neighbourhood.
Cat-friendly local Doreen Tadros, who’d been feeding him for the last couple of years – found him sweet-natured, even pettable, but wasn’t in a position to take him into her home.
During that time, she also knew he had a badly-infected tail, which showed no signs of getting better.
“The last half of his tail would scab over, and then the whole scab would fall off and he’d be down to a red, raw tail… it was very distressing,” said Tadros, a cat owner herself.
“I knew he need that tail off, but I didn’t know what to do – I called the City of White Rock, but the only thing they’re interested in is dogs, not cats or any other animals.”
Now – thanks to the Vancouver Orphaned Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA), partner Peace Arch Veterinary Clinic and volunteer cat trapper Irene Plett – Blue (formerly nicknamed ‘Stumpy’) has had the majority of the infected tail amputated, been neutered and tattooed, and is now recovering with ample opportunity to demonstrate his naturally affectionate nature.
Plett, a lifelong cat lover, got involved with Blue because both she and Tadros are fellow members of the South Surrey-White Rock Writers’ Club.
“I wrote a story about my rescue cat, who’s named Kringle, which I entered in a Paws for Hope contest, and I’d asked if I could read it out at the last meeting in November,” she said.
Plett said she was stunned by the eager response from fellow members, who expressed interest in cat rescues and in getting more information about VOKRA.
Among them was Tadros.
Plett, who has spent much of her time as a VOKRA volunteer raising awareness through Facebook posts, had only latterly graduated to ‘cat trapper’ using the approved humane tool – essentially a cage with a one-way entrance, baited with “tantalizing” food.
She discovered there were two cats Tadros and neighbours had been taking care of.
“There was this cat they called Mama, a feral cat that kept having kittens,” said Plett. “It had been impossible to help her, but she was the one I was able to trap first, on Dec. 14.”
After bringing her to Peace Arch Veterinary clinic for spaying, and keeping her in a garage for a couple of nights while she recovered, Plett returned her to the neighborhood two days later.
“As she’s feral, there’s nothing else one can do,” she said. “But I was concerned hearing about the other cat with the bad tail – it seemed like he needed medical attention.”
Blue’s friendliness indicated he was already accustomed to living with humans. Plett set up the trap again – and by 6:30 that night, Blue was in it, not a moment too soon, she said.
“In the process of trying to get him into the carrier, I saw his tail – it was just horrible,” she said.
Although Tadros tried to introduce Blue into her own home for a couple of days, her own black cat, Stella, was having none of it – so Tadros was glad to hear he’d been resettled with a foster family by VOKRA.
Blue has since been adopted by a “lovely couple in Vancouver.”
“It was a nice little Christmas present for me – that these two little guys who needed help, got it,” Tadros said.
Given the lack of any city oversight for such strays, Plett and Tadros would like more people in White Rock and South Surrey to be aware of the existence of VOKRA and partner organizations Katie’s Place (an animal shelter in Maple Ridge) and Semiahmoo Animal League Inc. – and the fact that the volunteer organization relies solely on donations to fund its rescue and care operations for orphan cats.
“Last year, VOKRA spent $450,000 and more than half of that was for veterinary services,” Plett said, noting it has around 50 members in the Surrey-Delta-White Rock-Langley region alone. For more info, visit www.vokra.ca or call 604-731-2913.