By Craig Westcott | The Shoreline
Conception Bay South has a new shelter for cats, but it’s a private one that hopes to be a support, of sorts, to the town council’s pound, though independently run and paid for.
The 16’ by 22’ metal building will have individual pens for cats that Kim Pike and their friends rescue. “Before the rumours start flying, the cats that I have will all be spayed, neutered and disease free,” Pike said.
Construction on the interior of the building will continue throughout the winter with the Pikes planning on housing the animals next summer.
“There will be a ‘catio’ built on the side of it,” said Pike. “It’s like your standard patio only it will be enclosed in very small squared wire so that the cats can’t get out. But there will be pet doors on the side of the shelter so they can come in and go out whenever they want.”
On Saturday, the Pikes and some family and friends celebrated a blessing of the animal shelter by Major Lloyd George.
The Salvation Army Major said the idea of the shelter is a good one. He pointed out the Bible has a passage that includes a message from the Lord that he was putting the earth’s animals into the care of man.
“And that’s what you are doing today,” said George. “This is a future place where you will take care of the animals. They are God’s creatures, just like we are, and I thank you, Kim, for having this upon your heart and taking care of the animals that might otherwise be out in the cold, so to speak.”
After the blessing, Pike and her guests tossed glitter in the air towards the shelter as an expression of good luck.
The shelter itself is hidden from the side street where the Pikes are located.
“I don’t want the location of this place disclosed,” said Pike, “because I’m afraid that irresponsible pet owners will dump their cats off here and just walk away… But I can hold a lot of cats in that shelter.”
Pike said she has always been an animal lover.
“I lived in Alberta for a good part of my life,” said Pike. “And when we came home (in 2008), we brought one cat with us on the plane. For now, we’re up to seven. But the number of cats I’m after rescuing in that short time… There’s a big, big need. I don’t know if people in Newfoundland realize the cat issue that we have. They’re dumping cats off everywhere.”
Pike said she won’t be out trapping cats herself. “But this building that I have will be a place for the other rescue girls, who do trap, to bring the cats to my shelter and there will be individual stalls inside it. And then when the cats get neutered, or vetted, we call it, which means a full checkup, it will stay at my building until it gets adopted out.”
Sick animals will be put down rather than left to suffer, Pike said.
Animal rescue and care is an expensive avocation, Pike admitted. “We don’t get a discount at the vets,” she said. “What we do is fundraise. This past March I rescued one from the town and I bought a designer purse when I was on holidays and sold tickets on it and I made almost a thousand dollars towards him getting vetted. Besides that thousand dollars, I’ve spent another $400 on the cat and he’s still not neutered, because he had the cat flu when we got him. If I hadn’t taken him, he would have been euthanized.”
Pike said she is thankful for having a supportive family. “One year alone our vet bills were pennies under $7,000,” she said. “Not for my cats. These were cats that were outside roaming. We trapped three. One of them we had to euthanize a year later, but the other two we still have.”
Pike said having an animal is a big responsibility. “I don’t work outside the home so I’m able to do charity events and this is my charity,” said Pike. “This is what I do… I do think it’s something the community needs.”