Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Coyotes Killing Cats In Scarborough Park

Time may be up for the dog-biting feral kitties of Bluffers Park, which are under siege by coyotes that are getting help from humans. It’s been a while since we checked on the colony of 25 to 30 feral cats living in the lakeside park with the help of cat lovers who feed them and make sure they’re spayed and neutered. We first reported on them in 2009, after a woman who walks her dog in the park complained to the city they attacked her pooch — as likely as a man-bites-dog story — and demanded they be removed. The city almost bit, ordering the caretakers to license or move them, until we started doing stories that prompted outrage and caused animal control to back off.

Robert Brydges, one of the caretakers, emailed to say two were snatched by coyotes living along the Scarborough bluffs in the past week, while other cats have been stalked by them before they were chased off. Brydges said he has twice found people food — roast beef, cold cuts, wieners cut in half — piled near homes they’ve built for the cats, and also a trail of dog kibble spread in a line running towards the cathouses. Some people have made it clear to the caretakers that they don’t like the cats, one of whom Brydges suspects of baiting the coyotes, which have never previously bothered with them. He and several others have been acting as overnight sentries since last weekend, said Brydges, adding he chased off two early Monday, armed only with a flashlight, a whistle and a stick.

In an email to supporters, he asked for help in trying to get at least some of the cats adopted. “The days of the cat colony are over, one way or another. Those that we don’t find homes for will be eaten. “All of these cats, though labeled feral, are tame. All would make beautiful pets if given a chance.” It would be a sorry end for a group of cats that have lived peacefully in the park for many years and bothered nobody, except a few feline haters. Anyone interested in adopting a cat or helping out can email Brydges at bluffscats@hotmail.com
*The Toronto Star