Calling all cat lovers. An urgent plea is being issued for people to adopt or foster cats who have been looked after by an unsung hero, an elderly lady whose health is declining.
“Ideally, if 12 people stepped up to take a kitty each, that would solve the problem in part,” said Melanie Crehan of Serenity Pet Shelter Society.
Sheila Turner, 79, has been rescuing, feeding, taming and even looking after a feral colony for nearly 20 years, she said. When Rainbow trailer park was torn down, many hundreds of cats were abandoned. She helped as many as possible, always seeking to keep her neighbours informed in her gentle and humble way. Now she needs the help of the community.
Crehan said Turner, who is the society’s treasurer, is one of the reasons Serenity Pet Shelter Society was started.
Turner is a very humble, caring and gentle person. She always answers people’s questions kindly, is always aware of a cat in need, never questions that she will help, said Crehan. “I just can’t say enough good things about her contribution over the years to the community seeing to the needs of the animals.”
“We really need to find homes for these cats so they can continue to live well and prosper,” said Crehan. An alternative to adopting a cat would be to foster them. That means Serenity pays the expenses, said Crehan. “We’d prefer if they’d just take them on, but if they can’t this is the second best thing.”
“I don’t know how many hundreds of cats she’s helped care for but it’s been a lot,” she said. Now as Turner is getting older, her mobility is a little challenged and she’s finding it difficult to get around and look after her cats.
Besides the cats she has, Turner also looks after a feral colony, making sure they’re spayed, neutered and released.
Crehan said last year they missed ‘fixing’ two of the cats and now there are nine kittens and the society’s funds are almost gone.
Last year the group received a bit of help from the town through Project Turnaround, “but this year they haven’t even replied to a letter written one year ago”.
Crehan said they’d love for people to take on the feral cats. “Just stop by and make sure they have food, water, that they have shelter.” The benefit of keeping the colony healthy is “they keep the rodent population down to nothing. If we didn’t have feral cats we would have a real problem”.
Crehan also issued a “generalized plea for people to spay and neuter their animals. “A breeding pair, exponentially, can reproduce up to 400,000 cats in the space of five to seven years,” she said. “We certainly don’t want that.”
Of the plea for help, Crehan said, “there comes a time when people get older and although they don’t want to ask for help, help needs to be requested.”
If you’re interested in helping, please contact Sheila Turner at 403-887-5422 or Melanie Crehan at 403-505-2925. To learn more about the society, check www.SylvanLakeSerenityPetShelterSociety.com.