Two years ago, Gill’s cat passed away.
She proceeded to donate his cage to the Coastal Cat Rescue which uses these items to provide for stray and abandoned cats and kittens.
“The owner and I started speaking,” Gill says, “and the rest is history.”
Gill has been volunteering ever since.
Coastal Cat Rescues operates on the Pohutukawa Coast – Beachlands, Maraetai and surrounding areas. It is a non-profit organisation that takes dumped, unwanted and stray cats and kittens from the street and places them in foster or loving homes when they can.
Lyn Gribble, the founder and owner, says that abandoned cats are a troubling issue within New Zealand.
“One of the issues is that people give away free un-desexed kittens,” Lyn says.
“Then often, when the owners find out the costs to desex, they allow them to reproduce or abandon them to become strays, and the cycle continues.
It is the aim of with all rescues to stop out-of-control breeding because many of the kittens become sick and die from living on the streets, says Lyn.
Kitten season usually runs from spring with the peak in summer and lasts into June.
“There are a lot of sick and suffering kittens,” Lyn says.
“Right now, two of the rooms in my house have transformed into quarantine zones so that I can separate them.”
So far, this season, Coastal Cat Rescue has homed around 50 kittens. Last year it was more than 80.
“It’s exhausting, sometimes heart-breaking and often rewarding,” she says.
“It’s always been my passion to make a difference in the lives of cats. I’ve been rescuing them for a long time.”
Gill, the Coastal Cat Rescue volunteer, agrees wholeheartedly.
“I volunteer three hours every day, if I can,” she says. “It’s absolutely hard work – sick cats, meeting all their different needs. Still, I love it. I love all the cats”.
“We are a bit overwhelmed during kitten season,” Lyn says. “Our funding has been significantly cut.”
Coastal Cat Rescue is a member of the Community Cat Coalition which gets a grant from the SPCA for desexing.
About half the funding has been cut, impacting Coastal Cat Rescues and similar operations.
“Luckily we’ve had significant community help,” Lyn says, “but it’s definitely been a blow”.
Currently Coastal Cat Rescue has 10 volunteers.
Lyn says they are looking for people to join their team. “We are always searching for volunteers,” she says. “The cats require a lot of attention. Even though it can be hard work, it’s so worthwhile.”