The Comfie Cat Shelter is in desperate need of foster parents and adopters as the facility is currently caring for 208 cats who need forever homes.
The Comfie Cat Shelter manager and founder, Barb MacLeod, says the shelter has actually been lucky to have a solid number of foster parents. However, more and more pregnant female cats, or kittens with no mothers, enter the shelter each day.
“Right now, I have three little baby kittens who need bottle feeding and we are just trying to see what we can do for them,” MacLeod said.
“We like to keep the numbers down at the shelter, and at the moment we are at about 102 in the shelter itself, with the rest in foster care.”
MacLeod says several factors are playing into the rising number of cats who are ending up in the care of the shelter.
“People still aren’t getting their cats fixed, and people are dumping their cats because they’ve lost their home, they are dumping them in the country, and most of the time cats are coming in unfixed because people can’t afford to get it done,” she lamented.
“We are averaging about five to ten requests a day for surrenders. Seniors are going into hospitals, people have moved out and left cats in apartments, people are finding them all over the place.”
MacLeod says the crisis isn’t just happening in Orillia, but all over the province.
“A lot of shelters that we work with are over-capacity as well. Everyone I’ve called has been having a hard time,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also playing a role in the large number of homeless cats.
“We had one lady call us whose husband died; they had three cats, her business where she worked went under and she never got any money. So, she lost her home and had to move in with her family. That seems to be a common issue right now because of the virus,” MacLeod said.
MacLeod says it will take a community to make Orillia a safe environment for cats, and she hopes many local residents are willing to help.
“I’d like to see more people being willing to foster, it’s a big responsibility because we ask foster parents to pay for food, and we reimburse them or give them a tax receipt,” she explained.
“Right now, a lot of people are starting to go back to work after working from home for so long, so they don’t have the time to take care of cats, it’s hard.”
MacLeod says The Comfie Cat Shelter will have cats up for adoption at the Orillia PetSmart later this week. Adoption application forms can also be found on their website.
“People can also support us by dropping food off and things like that - those kinds of donations would be wonderful, too,” MacLeod said.
The shelter is located at 112 Norweld Dr. in Orillia.