Foster homes needed for feral Kamloops cats struggling during extreme cold | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Foster homes needed for feral Kamloops cats struggling during extreme cold

Sammy's Forgotten Felines is looking for foster homes for feral cats.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Sammy's Forgotten Felines

A cat rescue agency in Kamloops is appealing to the public to open their homes for foster care after finding several cats frozen to death this week.

Temperatures in Kamloops and the Okanagan have been well below the freezing mark and in some communities the cold has already been record-breaking.

Sammy’s Forgotten Felines monitors cat colonies in the area and provides winter shelters stuffed with hay for them. They recently found several cats frozen to death in those shelters. In extreme cold weather outdoor cats can also suffer from hypothermia and frostbite, losing ears, toes and tails.

The cat rescue has been getting more calls than they ever have before from residents concerned about colonies of feral cats outside in the freezing cold. 

READ MORE: Extreme cold warnings issued for Kamloops, Shuswap, Similkameen

Directors and founders Jen Breckenridge and Julie Ondang said they are at max capacity and need help, pointing out fostering is much easier than some might think.

Without a main shelter building, the organization relies on foster families.

“Fosters will need a spare room or extra bathroom,” Breckenridge said. “We provide everything from food to litter to vet care. Many are adults, scared and cold. Some will not survive without help.”

Breckenridge said there are around 150 cats that need to come inside.

READ MORE: Cat overpopulation problem continues to plague Kamloops

Experience with feral cats is not required.

“We currently have some cats that have socialized very nicely so for someone who is not experienced we can offer friendlier ones from our current homes to make room for ones who need more adjusting,” Ondang said. “If people have experience that would be very helpful.”

Fosters are to keep cats separated from other household pets. Small enclosed rooms allow feral cats to feel safe and calm. Many feral cats carry diseases so must be separated from other household pets. 

Ondang said the length of stay for a cat in a home varies depending on individual circumstances.

“We don’t put time limits on how long a cat takes to get used to a household environment,” she said. “It could be weeks or months before they are ready for a forever home and in some cases fosters choose to adopt them.”

READ MORE: Kamloops woman building temporary winter shelters for feral cats

The organization started in 2019 in response to reports of a huge cat colony living on the outskirts of Kamloops. A group of volunteers with animal rescue experience got together to address the need.

“The population numbers were outrageous,” Breckenridge said. “The first colony we dealt with we removed 82 cats and were miraculously able to find homes for all of them. We are still in touch with the man whose property the colony was on and no cats have shown up there since.”

The organization relies on public donations and fundraising to keep running. They will be able to receive grants when they acquire a charitable status. All donations of cat food and supplies are needed and can be dropped off at the Stock Pot Café in Kamloops.

“Food is the biggest need,” Breckenridge said. “In the winter the cats need to keep eating to stay warm and we are going through food like crazy. We also need straw bales to stuff their outdoor shelters with.”

Breckenridge said if you have a stray cat to put out a bed of straw in a place out of the wind, and to avoid putting down towels that collect moisture and freeze.

“It is really rewarding to know you are saving a kitty from the cold,” she said. “It is amazing to see them adjust and let their personalities come out.”

If you can foster or for more information email Jen and Julie at sammyscats20@gmail.com.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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