Rescue group runs out of money

Vet bills were $21,000 in August, approximately $100,000 a year

Elaine Thompson snoozes with some of the kittens that are being offered for adoption by Qualicum Cat Rescue.

Elaine Thompson snoozes with some of the kittens that are being offered for adoption by Qualicum Cat Rescue.

Somewhere out there are people who have a big heart and a chequebook to match — and Gregg Bolderson says he wants to find them.

Bolderson, a volunteer with Qualicum Cat Rescue, said the Qualicum Beach-based charity has run out of money and he has taken it upon himself to  do something about it.

“They’ve run out of money, big time, and they’re on overload,” he said. “I guess you could say they’re a victim of their own success.”

The group has taken in about 240 kittens this year, along with 25 full-grown cats. Each kitten costs about $245 to spay or neuter, deflea and deworm, quite apart from the food and litter they require.

“Last Tuesday they had 27 kittens in the store and 29 more in foster care,” Bolderson said. “The very next day they were asked to take in nine more kittens — five of which were found abandoned in a freight yard and the other four came running out of a brush pile fire. They were singed and had inhaled smoke.”

The singed kittens had inhaled smoke and had to be both bottle fed and needed oxygen assistance.

The problem, he said, is the popularity of the free spay and neuter program, which was originally designed to deal with feral cats and cats owned by people on low incomes.

“People would phone up and say they have two female cats and we wouldn’t ask if they really were low income,” he said. “We decided to spay the cats anyway, so they wouldn’t end up with six kittens each. The result is we ran out of certificates and spent all this money. Then along comes the next batch of kittens.”

Vet bills alone in August totaled $21,000, while the tab for the year has already topped $100,000.

Although the charity was given a significant bequest this year, that money is now gone, but the demand continues.

“What’s needed is some serious donations,” Bolderson said. “They ran flat out of money four weeks ago. I want to tweak people’s imaginations so they see this is a worthwhile thing to do. All of us would like to do good things, so I would like to steer that general will to this particular issue.”

Anyone who would like to donate can do so at Qualicum Cat Rescue, 166 West 1st Ave., V9K 2M4.