Cat Res­cue Mar­itimes Antigonish chap­ter seek­ing spon­sor­ship for kit­tens

The Casket - - Local - SAM MACDON­ALD sam­mac­don­[email protected]­cas­ket.ca

The Christ­mas sea­son has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you have to dis­pense with the spirit of gen­eros­ity and giv­ing.

In fact, the Antigonish chap­ter of Cat Res­cue Mar­itimes (CARMA) hopes that spirit of gen­eros­ity ex­tends into the new year.

Ac­cord­ing to Mar­lene Morell with CARMA, the or­ga­ni­za­tion is look­ing for peo­ple to spon­sor cats.

"It’s a pro­gram that makes a huge dif­fer­ence for us. We’re com­pletely vol­un­teer-driven, with no gov­ern­ment fund­ing," Morell said.

Par­tic­i­pants in the pro­gram are able to con­trib­ute to one of CARMA’S main rev­enue streams, by spon­sor­ing cats for $10 a month.

"Some peo­ple spon­sor more than one – one lady sends in

$50 a month," Morell noted.

Mor­rell em­pha­sized the need for spon­sor­ship be­cause of the costs of CARMA do­ing what it does for local cats.

"It costs $300, on av­er­age, per kit­ten, and it’s only $125 per adop­tion, so we have to make that up some­where," Morell said. "We rely on spon­sor­ship and fundrais­ing to cover that bal­ance."

The need for spon­sor­ship, specif­i­cally for cats, is a press­ing one, Morell noted, be­cause, "a lot of peo­ple will buy a dog for $1,000 and not think twice, even about the pedi­gree and pa­pers."

How­ever, she added, "when it comes to kit­tens, not ev­ery­one wants to buy. The way this pro­gram works is peo­ple are do­nat­ing to­wards a pro­gram when they adopt."

Spon­sor­ship cov­ers vet fees for cats and kit­tens while they are in the care of CARMA.

"If you’ve got two or three kit­tens and you don’t want any more around the house, but still want to help, this is a great way to en­sure we take more in through our foster care pro­gram."

There are a num­ber of ways to pro­vide spon­sor­ship as well. Morell noted CARMA ac­cepts post-dated cheques, Paypal, Canada­helps do­na­tions and e-trans­fers.

"We do tax re­ceipts at the end of the year, and you can claim it on your taxes," Morell noted.

If a per­son do­nates un­der $200 to CARMA, Morell noted they would get 25 per cent of it back in their taxes. That amount jumps up to 50 per cent, if they do­nate more than $200.

Although Morell said CARMA al­ready has plenty of spon­sors, she noted, "it would be nice if more peo­ple did, be­cause we take in more kit­tens ev­ery year."

Of that ris­ing num­ber of kit­tens com­ing into the care of CARMA, Morell noted bot­tle feed­ers are the most de­pen­dent and in need of as­sis­tance.

"They’re more ex­pen­sive, and it costs a lot to cover the sup­ple­ment for them," Morell said. "They need more care. The ma­jor­ity of them are feral, so when we have them we have to spend time so­cial­iz­ing them."

Bot­tle feeder kit­tens need to be fed by bot­tle for about five to six weeks.

"There was a lady in South Lochaber who called us, and there was a cat around her prop­erty. She had three kit­tens un­der their boat," Morell said. "I bot­tle fed them un­til they were six weeks old, be­fore they could be sent off to a foster home to be weaned and put on food. It’s ex­pen­sive to have them in our care and hav­ing the spon­sor­ship pro­gram makes a dif­fer­ence for that too."

In the end, Morell noted, the kit­tens find homes, of­ten in spite of some of the dan­ger­ous and pre­car­i­ous con­di­tions in which they’re found.

The other main pro­gram of CARMA, Trap Neuter Re­turn [TNR], helps from 100 to150 cats a year.

"The num­ber of kit­tens we take in can vary, but we usu­ally have over 100 kit­tens a year," Morell said.

Sam Macdon­ald

Some of the kit­tens in the care of the Antigonish chap­ter of Cat Res­cue Mar­itimes.

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