Volunteers at Petsave take on difficult task of taming feral cats
Petsave volunteer Susan Collin says it takes baby steps to slowly, slowly gain the animal's trust and socialize them. (Alana Everson/CTV News)
SUDBURY -- Using various techniques, and a whole lot of patience, volunteers at Petsave in Lively are helping to rehabilitate feral cats.
Volunteers like Susan Collin say it takes baby steps to slowly, slowly gain the animal's trust and socialize them.
Collin uses her volunteer time to read to feral felines to try to get them familiar with human voices.
"A lot of them with the cat trees, they hide behind them or in the bottom, and then, day by day, week by week, some of them are starting to peak out around the corner and then they will come out one step at a time," said Susan Collin, a Petsave volunteer.
It's a daunting task: feral cats come into Petsave untouchable and unapproachable. But it can pay off: in the past six months, 25 feral felines have been rehabilitated and adopted from the shelter.
Collin, who also uses a wand to play with the feral cats, said enticing them with treats is particularly effective.
"I grab the treats," she said. "That really gets everybody's attention and I start by putting some on the floor and, as they get more and more used to me, then I start approaching them."
Debbie Angelina is also a volunteer. She fosters feral cats at her home to get them socialized and adoptable.
"One of the cats went up in the ceiling and she has been up there now for six months," Angelina said. "She (comes) down to eat, she is getting a little bit more friendly.
"I can't touch her yet, but she comes closer now."
Petsave says there is a feral cat crisis right now in Greater Sudbury. The shelter recently rescued colonies of 10-30 cats.
"We recently had an emergency C-section for one of our colonies," said Petsave director Jill Pessot.
"It's very dangerous to let them multiply. So best when you see a stray, call right away, then we can analyze whether it's friendly or feral and we can get the help it needs right away."
Right now Petsave is caring for more than 100 feral cats and kittens.