In the heart of East London, a small but passionate group of individuals is working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of stray cats and with breeding season upon us, they are in need of the public’s support.
Furever Homes, a non-profit organisation co-founded by Amber Wiggill and Dr Amy Long in 2018, has embarked on a mission to sterilise stray cats.
Wiggill and Long, while assisting another organisation with fostering cats, realised that not enough preventative work was being done.
Breeding season for cats typically starts in September and ends in March. As the days become longer and the temperatures rise, cat’s hormones start to change in preparation for mating season.
Cats can become pregnant as early as four months old, and male cats can force ovulation in females. The consequences of uncontrolled breeding are more homeless kittens, overcrowded colonies, disease risks and inbreeding, leading to an endless cycle of suffering.
Cats reach sexual maturity at four to five months and can have two to three litters per year with at least three kittens, which in turn, will soon produce their own offspring. The number of offspring from just one cat can increase to thousands after only a few years, many of which may end up as strays, resulting in overcrowded animal shelters.
Apart from the animal suffering that comes with being a stray, any unwanted offspring can also be a burden for shelters which often have to stop accepting kittens in May because they shelters are overcrowded.
Through their dedication, Furever Homes aims to tackle the root of the problem and prevent the suffering of countless feline lives.
Furever Homes employs a humane and effective approach known as Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR). This process involves humanely trapping stray cats, sterilising them, providing rabies vaccinations and ear-clipping them for identification before releasing them back into their colonies.
Since 2018, the team has sterlised 4,700 cats however given the closure of the SPCA clinic, this year they have been unable to sterilise for months.
They are now working through Snyp Clinic and are only able to sterilise as the funds become available because each sterilisation costs R600 for males and R700 for females.
The costs of maintaining their work are high as the animals have to be fed and sheltered in addition to neutered.
Wiggill said: “We are currently trapping in Beacon Bay Industrial and Quigney. “We need people to let us know where the stray cats are and make sure we have access to them.
“Our goal is to assist the SPCA by preventing fewer animals in need from being born
.“More than 2,800 healthy animals are euthanised daily.
“Our belief is that if you feed them, they are now your responsibility. It’s your job to make sure they are sterilised – while feeding is great, we often hear of people who must stop because the costs too much. This is the importance of sterilization and where we step in to help.”
To cover their costs, the organisation hosts a monthly bookclub called, Pages & Pups that charges a R100 a month.
Members receive a book, bookmark, a discount voucher for local businesses and a surprise gift every month for their membership fee.
The organisation currently has 30 committed book club members every month however their goal is to reach 50 to cover their overheads.
Wiggill said, “Stray animals are a community problem. We as humans caused these situations and we all need to step up and assist whether it’s with finances, donations of items for us to auction or even just making sure your own pets are sterilized.
“TNR changes these cats’ lives and we need more people to care.”
To contact Furever Homes, WhatsApp 079-627-4872 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.