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Cat shelter bounces back

No-kill shelter 'back to normal' after concerns last fall
2018-01-16 Comfie Cat Shelter
Curious cats at the Comfie Cat Shelter in Orillia. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

After a hairy situation, the Comfie Cat Shelter has landed on its feet.

"The shelter is running much more smoothly," said Barbara Ellen MacLeod, manager and founder of the no-kill shelter in Orillia.

Last fall, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) was called to the Norweld Drive facility after concerns were raised about the well-being the feline residents.

A lack of food and medicine were reported, though MacLeod, who was on vacation at the time, attributed that to "miscommunication."

"At no time have we ever not had food here," she said, adding she had also purchased medication shortly before leaving on vacation.

The visit from the OSPCA was helpful, she added, "because we learned of a few things that had to be corrected, and we did."

For instance, the medical records are more accessible and dividers have been installed in the areas where certain cats need to be isolated.

The shelter was at capacity at the time, after it received a number of cats from Big Cedar Estates in Oro-Medonte.

"We did lose a mommy and some kittens, but we saved some," MacLeod said.

Now, while the shelter is near capacity again, "we're back to normal," she said.

The volunteer complement is healthy, at 15 to 20, with about 10 regularly active helpers.

There are days when the help is hard to come by, but they make do.

"If we only have two people in the shelter one day, not everything gets done," she said, but added the cats always have food and medication.

She said the community has been responsive to the shelter's needs and many have come forward with donations and offers of help.

"We want to thank the public for their support through a rough patch."

Some were shocked to read about dead cats being stored in a freezer, but that is not uncommon, MacLeod said, noting that's where the deceased animals go until they are picked up.

The non-profit organization is always in search of volunteers and donations. For more information, visit

Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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