SCRAPS Holds Volunteer Event
Approximately 40 people gathered for the Band City Stray Cat Protection And Rescue Society, more commonly known as SCRAPS, volunteer appreciation event at the Providence Place on Sunday afternoon.
The event featured a light lunch, entertainment, a video presentation, words of encouragement and a thank you to the estimated 50 people who volunteer their time to help SCRAPS.
“Volunteers are very important. That's why we had the day for them. They are basically the heartbeat of what we are,” board member Anne Marciszyn told MJ Independent.
For SCRAPS volunteers fill various roles which include not only board members and leadership individuals, but there are also fundraisers, fosters, guardians (who feed and look after cats near their homes), adoption team members, trappers, educators and veterinarians.
Approximately 50 people helped out in one way or another with SCRAPS in the past year. Volunteers give of their time when they are able with some volunteers helping out 40 hours a week.
“We all pick what we want to do,” Marciszyn said adding SCRAPS “programs have really expanded in the last year.”
One program SCRAPS runs is its adoption team. Former feral cats and kittens which are able to be tamed and domesticated are taken from the out of doors and placed with a family who will love, care for and protect them as a househeld pet.
She says the adoption team takes applications as well checks references and then arranges a home visit to see if the potential adoptee family is ready for and provide a proper home to adopt a kitten or an adult cat.
“It’s part of our screening program and gives us the opportunity of getting the right family…it eliminates a lot of people who might not adopt anyhow.”
Although more intensive than other pet adoptions the results are demonstrated where only one or two cats each year come back to SCRAPS which is a low number. Adoptees also do not end up back on the street and a feral life.
In 2018 66 cats and kittens were fostered (22 cats and 44 kittens) and of those 62 were adopted and no longer live a feral life.
In 2018 there were 17 foster homes ran by SCRAPS volunteers in the city.
Although there were less cats coming through the SCRAPS program in 2018 than 2017 it does point to some control is starting to take hold on the feral cat population in the city, she said. In 2017 there were 153 cats coming through the SCRAPS program with 98 cats coming through the SCRAPS program in 2018.
“It shows there is starting to be some control of the population.”
SCRAPS does not capture and kill feral cats but rather when a cat is captured it is taken to a veteranarian where is it given a health checkup, spayed and neutered if necessary - to help naturally reduce the population - photographed and then if it is not able to be domesticated it is released back to the location it was captured.
During the year SCRAPS began looking for feral cats and canvassed area businesses who may have cats living in their facilities and asked if they would like to have their cats become part of the program.
Additionally during their trapping SCRAPS caught four cats who had wandered away from their homes and returned them to their families.
“There were some newbies showing up at the end of Summer but it was getting too cold to trap them. You cannot trap female cats when it is so close to getting cold as they have surgical wounds which need to heal,” Marciszyn stated.
With the weather getting warmer SCRAPS will very soon start to capture feral cats and would like to remind people if your cat is out and about please have it tattooed or it wearing a collar so if captured it can be identified.
Although there is the potential to capture people’s pets SCRAPS does its best not to.
“But usually we try to investigate before we trap a cat.”
One of the things many people confuse SCRAPS with is that they are the agency who you would call if your neighbour’s cat gets into your yard. This is not their mission but they do give advise about non-harmful means to help keep stray cats out of your yard. SCRAPS does not want to see people use weapons or other means which are cruel and can harm to keep stray cats away from people’s yards and has other strategies they can share to keep wandering cats away without harming them.
Where do the feral cats come from is a question Marciszyn says is something many people ask.
All cats originated as a pet somewhere in their family tree. Some are strays that became feral while others sadly were dumped by their owners and became feral because they had encounters with dogs or people who threw stuff or did other things to them, she said. Others are the descendents of former pets.
SCRAPS does not encourage cats to roam outside alone. Cats should only go outside if their owner is present to prevent them from becoming strays, injured or worse, Marciszyn said.
One thing Marciszyn would like to encourage all cat owners is to please spay or neuter your cat to help prevent an increase in the unwanted and/or feral cat population.
For more information, offer to volunteer or contribute to helping out the SCRAPS and their mission to naturally control and reduce the feral cat population please phone 306 692-7513 or 306 693-0718 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The group also offers information and advice through its Facebook page MJ SCRAPS.