Lost and Found Cats in HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) and Nova Scotia
has been active since October 2010, helping to bring about many happy endings.
“The idea came about when I was driving home from Point Pleasant Park one day and a cat with a harness hanging off it ran across the street in front of me,” she said.
“I went to the house the cat ran to and knocked on the door. It turned out that the cat had been hanging around for a couple of months. I told the lady I volunteered with cat rescue and she agreed to let me set up a trap in her yard.”
While watching the trap she saw a different cat, lured by the food, approach. When she reached down to pet him she discovered that he was extremely thin. She fed him, put him in a pet carrier and took him with her – later taking him to the vet and finding him a home.
Still worried about the cat with the harness hanging from it, she posted a message on Kijiji and returned to the area each day, but was unable to catch the animal.
After about a week she got a reply from Pamela Harrison, whose cat, Theo, had gone missing three months earlier after he was spooked while on his harness. Although the cat had run off in a different area of the city, Tracey took Pamela to the area the cat had been hanging around.
“We were sitting in the backyard for about an hour,” she related. “Pamela was around the side of the house looking for the cat. He showed up along the other side of the house. I told her he was coming and she walked towards the corner. I told her to call him, and when she said his name they both came around their corners and locked eyes. He ran right up to her and she dropped to her knees. He was rubbing all over her and we were all sobbing. Theo was very happy to be home!”
After she put the story on Facebook, her son suggested she start a lost and found group on the social media site for cats, and that was what she did.
“One thing I never planned on when I began this group, was just how successful it would become, and one of the great things that is happening is that some people are adopting the abandoned and stray cats that they find, and other folks are stepping forward to adopt ones that they see in the group that are still outside.”
Lost and Found Cats in HRM and Nova Scotia does fundraising to help with some of the costs involved in having homeless cats tested for disease, vaccinated, dewormed, treated for fleas, and spayed and neutered. One of the ways in which money is raised is through online auctions.
Tracey said that she encourages people not to give up, because unless a pet has been found deceased there is always hope.
A recent success story was that of Tito, who went missing in July after he pushed open a screen on a balcony.
Laura LaChance printed brochures and posters, offered a reward, and notified Lost and Found Cats in HRM and Nova Scotia. She continued checking as the months passed.
After a cat was spotted around the Quality Inn, near Halifax Airport, in December, Tracey and a couple of women from a group called 4 Paws on the Ground were taking turns going out to capture it.
One afternoon she saw the cat peeking from the wooded area when the hotel manager came out, asked who she was and told her to leave the property. She told him she wasn’t leaving without the cat unless the police told her to. Ten minutes after the man left her she caught the cat, but went inside to make peace in case she ever needs to trap there again.
When she got home she posted photos of the cat on Facebook and quickly got a message from Laura LaChance, who was sure it was Tito.
Laura called and got Tracey to check for identifying marks, then called, “Tito!”
“The cat turned around and looked at the phone! I know he recognized her voice,” said Tracey.
She recorded the emotional reunion when Laura and her mother arrived to see Tito.
“Everyone, never give up looking for your babies. Thanks to Tracey, my Tito is on his way home. Never give up. I'M SO HAPPY!!!!!” Laura LaChance posted on the group’s Facebook wall
just before she went to pick him up.
Tracey has experienced heartbreaking situations during her rescue work, including cats who are starving or suffering from terrible wounds or disease.
“One example is Jackson,” she said. “He had his throat slit and was thrown out. He didn’t die and tried to go back home so his owner set his tail on fire and threw him out again. The neighbours would not say who the owner was for us to report the cruelty. He was in rough shape and what was left of his tail was blood red and infected. I went and trapped him and he was put in a loving foster home. Everyone banded together to fundraise for his vet bills and he is now in a forever home.”
She realizes that overpopulation is a major problem when it comes to felines, and believes that apartment managers should make it mandatory for tenants to provide proof that their cats are spayed and neutered, and that cats should be licenced and the revenue from that should go toward a low-cost spay/neuter program.
She has now set up a second Facebook group called ADOPTIONS/FOSTERING...Let's get the outdoor kitties INDOORS!
in order to help more felines.
Tracey shares her own home with 10 cats, who are all spayed and neutered. They range in age from 13 to 2, and all but the oldest are rescues.
She said the thing that makes me feel best about her volunteer work is “knowing I am saving the lives of these little ones.”