Cat door shuts at sanctuary
Expense burden too great to handle
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.