The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)

The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)

Feral cat rescue group looking for support

SAFARS helps make a difference to abandoned cats in the region

Feral cats, wild cats, stray cats – we have many names for the mysterious felines we sometimes see peeking out from under our porch or darting into abandoned buildings. Yet, most of them share a single destiny: short, difficult lives.

Fortunately, groups like the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) help make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region.

Every day, Margarita Dominguez and her volunteers visit five cat colonies feeding the hungry felines, sometimes trapping them so the animals can get veterinary care, but often just giving them a loving pet.

“We are always on the go,” Dominguez, president of SAFARS, said.

RELATED: Strays and feral cats aided by new group

Feral cats are offsprings of abandoned cats. Feral cats have never lived with human beings and grow up fending for themselves.

According to the BCSPCA, because a female cat can become pregnant as young as 16 weeks of age and go on to have two or three litters a year, the feral cat population – and the problems associated with it – grows and perpetuates. In seven years, a single female cat and its kittens can produce 420,000 more cats.

Dominguez said since her group formed in 2012, the problem is still the same: people breeding cats and selling them as “cheap, cute, coloured fluffy kittens.” The abandoned cat problem arrives when the kittens start getting in heat, and the family cannot afford the thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills.

“At the second or third pregnancy, the mother cat is dumped in some bushes, and she becomes our problem,” Dominguez said.

The animal welfare group spends up to $20,000 for veterinary services such as spay and neutering and relies on community donations for pet food, supplies and monetary donations. It is always in search of foster homes for pregnant cats and farms for feral cats.

SAFARS does not apply for funding from any public organization, such as the District of Sooke or the BCSPCA, over what Dominguez calls too much red tape and “absurd corporate” rules. Her group is not a legal charity.

Dominguez said more help is needed to tame the feral cat problem, and the municipality needs to take more responsibility.

For years she has lobbied for an animal shelter in Sooke only to be turned aside by governing bodies.

“Over the years, every time a family calls us because they need assistance with feral cats that somebody dumped on their land, we run as fast as we can to help,” Dominguez said.

• You can donate pet food at Wiskers and Waggs, Village Food Markets, or at 2075 Otter Point Road. For information on monetary donations, go online to safars.org or phone 778-352-2999.

READ MORE: Dozen Metchosin ‘barn cats’ on the hunt for new homes



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

animal welfareBCSPCASookeWest Shore

Just Posted

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

Saanich police took a suspect into custody after a store employee on Cedar Hill Cross Road was assaulted Wednesday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Employee assaulted at Saanich store after asking suspected shoplifters to leave

June 16 incident saw worker taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read