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HART animal rescue celebrates ten years of saving cats

Laurie Wheeler holds the cat cake that was auctioned at the April 21 fundraising event and celebration of the Homeless Animal Rescue Team's tenth anniversary.
Laurie Wheeler holds the cat cake that was auctioned at the April 21 fundraising event and celebration of the Homeless Animal Rescue Team's tenth anniversary. - Sara Ericsson

Rescue team has saved close to 1,800 cats

WOODVILLE – A cat and kitten rescue group is celebrating its tenth anniversary and raising money to see the shelter through another decade.

Laurie Wheeler is president of the Homeless Animal Rescue Team, or HART, which hosted the April 21 event at the Woodville Community Centre which had a silent auction, raffles, a cat cake and other money-raising initiatives to celebrate ten years of rescuing cats and kittens in need.

It’s not a glamourous job but is a necessary one, according to Wheeler, who herself has over 30 cats at her Aylesford home, the team’s headquarters, who never found a home.

“This job is neither easy nor cheap, and to see so many people out supporting us like this is pretty amazing,” she said.

Cost of running rescue is very high: Wheeler

The team has rescued close to 1,800 cats and kittens during its 10 years.

Monthly expenses average $2,500, with one veterinary bill for an incoming cat reaching hundreds of dollars due to procedures like fecal testing, neutering operations and vaccinations, and cat food and litter totaling $900 per month.

Each cat is neutered to prevent further breeding of feral cats, and Wheeler said she and other volunteers are noticing a difference.

“I’m seeing less and less kittens each spring, which shows me our team and other rescues are having an impact,” she said.

The money raised at the event will go towards the group’s veterinary bill and any extra toward the shelter’s cat food and litter costs. And with the general public sometimes not feeling friendly towards felines, Wheeler said fundraising can be tricky.
“There are a lot of cat haters around, so it can be difficult to fundraise,” she said.

Best-attended fundraiser yet

Wheeler said the event is the team’s best-attended fundraiser ever and will help boost their coffers as their busy spring season approaches.

The team is funded solely by donations, and also holds regular auctions on their Facebook group to raise money.

But finances are not the only challenge facing rescue operations. Finding the right foster homes, and later permanent homes, is a challenge. And in knowing cats are not for everyone, Wheeler is extra careful.

She sees cats as very independent pets, who generally do their own thing and often surprise their humans with weirdly unique personalities.

“Cats have got such ridiculous personalities – they’re crazy, and I love it. They make great pets,” she said.

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