Cat door shuts at sanc­tu­ary

Ex­pense bur­den too great to han­dle

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

A life-long ded­i­ca­tion to an­i­mals has taken its toll on Vin­nie Martin as she closes the doors on her cat sanc­tu­ary.

The an­i­mal lover and her fam­ily cared for thou­sands of cats in the past nine years but can no longer af­ford to home the or­phaned and str ay fe­lines. ‘‘We have done all we can and the best we can,’’ she said.

This is not the only break­ing point Martin has been through.

Five years ago the cat lover and her hus­band were made re­dun­dant.

‘‘We al­most pulled the pin [on the cat sanc­tu­ary] then but we man­aged to keep go­ing,’’ she said.

The fam­ily pushed on and got through with in­put from the com­mu­nity and businesses in­clud­ing Toko­roa New World and PAWs.

Her love for what she de­scribes as the ‘‘ smoochy’’ an­i­mals has driven her to move houses, sell her hobby cars and go with­out a hair­cut for two years.

This is all to give the kit­tens and cats the best care she can.

Each of the kit­tens and cats she has called her own have re­ceived a spe­cial name.

This in­cludes Bones, the 18 year-old cat who is now re-homed, and Ghost who al­most died at birth.

Martin has had up to 80 cats in her care at once but the cost of de-sex­ing, worm­ing, food, kitty lit­ter and power has be­come a bur­den too dif­fi­cult to han­dle. It cost an aver­age of $1000 a month, she said. Her ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the com­mu­nity in­put has ex­tended as far as her love for her an­i­mals.

But now she said she has to put her fam­ily first.

‘‘I have to do what is best for my fam­ily now,’’ she said.

The fam­ily of six had to leave their house in Toko­roa be­cause of the fi­nan­cial dif­fi­culty.

‘‘We were in a rent-to-buy scheme but be­cause we couldn’t af­ford it, we had to move,’’ she said.

There are no fu­ture plans of re-open­ing but Martin said she will con­tinue to help out where she can by fos­ter­ing a lit­ter at a time.

It will take time for Martin to ad­just to life with­out her hoard of cats.

‘‘It’s been my life, it’s go­ing to take me a while to get back to nor­mal,’’ she said.

Martin said the South Waikato has a big stray cat prob­lem com­pared to other districts and urged people to de-sex their cats.

Many cats and kit­tens have come through the doors, but now its time for Vin­nie Martin to close up.

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