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