As the mercury dipped over the past week, Vernon and District Animal Care Society quickly assembled a team to construct cat shelters for strays stuck outside in the cold.
In total, nine volunteers braved the storm to build 20 insulated cat shelters for local strays on Jan. 12.
“Over the last few days, we were out delivering them to places,” VDACs board member Lesley Phoenix said.
Many of the boxes were dropped off at private residences and businesses where strays have been spotted frequenting, Phoenix said. These locations were shared with VDACs over the Facebook page.
“There are a lot of homeless cats out there,” Phoenix said. “Some people will just dump their cats — these are domesticated cats with no food and no shelter and some are afraid of humans, some are feral, but most are friendly.”
While delivering some of the insulated cat shelters, Phoenix said several cats were caught and brought to the vet, while others were put into foster care. A few will even be spayed and neutered, “so they won’t be making babies all over the place,” she said.
The 20-year-old group has been constructing shelters every time there has been a cold snap, but many of the group’s members have “aged out,” Phoenix said.
“Now it’s down to six of us,” she explained.
This is the first time VDAC turned to social media to call out for extra hands and it was a huge success.
Phoenix said their post has been seen more than 10,000 times.
“We had a really great response,” she said.
Of the people who showed up to lend a helping hand, Phoenix said four of the volunteers are brand new and two to three have volunteered in the past.
The nine volunteers built the cat shelters by cutting holes into two sandwiched Rubbermaid storage containers that are than insulated with straw, donated by Rusty Spur Feed and Tack in Lumby, and held together by duct tape.
The containers were purchased from funds raised through donation, Phoenix said. Individuals dropped off cash donations ranging from $25-50 at ReStore, where Phoenix is employed.
For those interested in volunteering with VDACs in the future, Phoenix said the best place to reach the organization is through their Facebook page.