Group helps cats in Scarborough Bluffs and Bermondsey Road and St. Clair Avenue
Helping Homeless Pets Inc. has submitted a proposal to receive a $100,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. Sharon Paling, one of the organization's directors, said they heard about the grant project when a Windsor animal group submitted an idea and asked members of HHPI to vote for its idea. The Windsor group won during the last round so the president of HHPI thought it would be worth them submitting their own proposal. The idea is to raise awareness about feral cats across the city and get neighbourhoods to aid the situation in their community by registering the colonies and monitoring them. Registered colonies are eligible for free spaying or neutering from the City and Toronto and then the group would use part of the grant money to provide additional veterinary care to look after issues such as lice, fleas or other ailments. The animals would then be returned to their community. "Then they live out their natural lives," Paling said. Helping Homeless Pets Inc. is an umbrella group for 42 rescue operations across the GTA including three rescue groups that deal specifically with feral colonies. Together they've been working on this issue and have already organized neighbourhoods in the Scarborough Bluffs and Bermondsey Road and St. Clair Avenue communities where there will be no more feral breeding and these colonies will one day, hopefully, be extinct. "We can definitely make a difference in the neighbourhood," Paling said. It's difficult educating the public and getting residents on board to monitor their neighbourhood colony so that's why they've applied for the grant to help raise awareness. "Some people don't ever recognize they have a colony in their area," Paling said. The majority of the grant would go to cover expensive vet costs. Paling said groups receive calls from people with cats living under their deck or porch - or giving birth there - and they don't know what to do with them. "People are overwhelmed with the situation," she said. "This is one way they can do something, they can go to their computer and vote for us. It's important to vote for us because it raises awareness that something needs to be done." Feral cats are also a problem because they affect pets and cats who aren't fixed exhibit behaviour that bothers people, such as fighting and noise among the cats, as well as the spraying that creates a smell. People can vote for the controlling feral colonies idea at www.refresheverything.ca/feralcatcontrol, the idea is currently ranked 22nd. Voting runs until Dec. 31.A pet rescue group is looking to help Toronto's feral cats with a refreshing idea, but they need a little help to make it a reality.