I’ve mentioned this before but without much detail. Since late 2014 Toronto Cat Rescue has been working closely with Toronto Animal Services; it’s where we get the majority of our rescues. We take many of their “at risk” felines; the kittens (orphans and those with queens), the injured, the sick, the behavioural cases. As a city run shelter, they are not allowed to turn away any domestic animals. This can create crowded shelters and/or high euthanasia rates. TCR has the time and foster resources to deal with rescues that need more investment.
At the recent Toronto Cat Rescue Annual General Meeting we had a presentation from one of the vets at TAS. It was a reassuring presentation. The efforts they are making to reduce the number of cats in shelters are impressive:
- they are partners in the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition which provides free spay/neuter to feral colony caretakers — as long as the caretaker has taken their workshop and become certified. Once a week volunteer vets spend an evening doing spay/neuter surgeries. About 60 a night (with multiple vets)!!
- they are not permitted to provide healthcare to family pets, however, they are working on a grant programme, in conjunction with private vets, to help people to not have to give up their pets for financial reasons
- they no longer pick up healthy cats* when a member of the public calls (they still rescue sick or injured, of course)
- they have the “Chip Truck”; a mobile licence, rabies, and microchip clinic
- in the summer of 2016 they introduced the “Snip Truck”, a mobile spay/neuter clinic that sets up in lower income neighbourhoods to provide low cost spay/neuter/vaccination services. Appointments are made online and by phone but they won’t refuse drop-ins if they can help it. Their target for 2017 is at least 50 surgeries a day!
I also learned of a great cooperation with Toronto Humane Society (which has had a … checkered history!) Turns out that THS has great ringworm quarantine/caretakers. So TAS cats with ringworm got to THS. I wondered why we rarely — if ever — got any!
This idea of everyone doing what they do best shouldn’t be ground-breaking, but apparently it is! Everyone focuses on their strengths and doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel. And it’s working. Intakes at the shelter are down and estimates for community cats are down. I’d hate not fostering but having no need for it would be the best reason ever to quit.
*who are often pets or healthy ferals