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

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: A brief history of Bear Creek Camp

Malahat Logging Company began both Beach Camp and Bear Creek Camp

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read