Blind cat from Kuwait finds refuge at C.A.R.E.S

Langley shelter takes in foreign cat, among nearly 90 staying there at present

Elliott’s second chance comes at the C.A.R.E.S cat shelter in Langley, far removed from his home country of Kuwait.

He was rescued on the streets of the Middle Eastern country as a kitten with very badly infected eyes.

A rescue group took him to a vet; however, by this time he was blind.

His eyes had to be removed as they could not be saved.

Elliott was treated with antibiotics and recovered, but his chance of being adopted were slim.

In Kuwait, domestic cats are often dumped in the street, as most people there want designer felines with papers.

C.A.R.E.S, formed in 1993 with a mission to rescue, shelter, and find loving homes for stray, abandoned, and unwanted cats, stepped up to the plate. Elliott was flown to Vancouver, where he went into a foster home.

Currently, Elliott is at the Langley shelter, where he goes up and down the big scratching post and loves to play with the feather wand that has a bell so he can hear it.

However, as a survival instinct, Elliott doesn’t always get along with many of C.A.R.E.S other cats.

“He’s not taking any garbage from any cat,” C.A.R.E.S special fosters coordinator Donna Healey-Ogden said. “He is aggressive, so they don’t come at him.”

Elliott is C.A.R.E.S ’ second addition from Kuwait — another feline from that country has already been adopted out.

Healey-Ogden said Elliott is adoptable to a “one cat home, so he doesn’t feel he has to defend (himself).”

Full house

C.A.R.E.S has reached its cat capacity.

“I guess it’s seasonal as much as anything else,” said Clive Ellis, C.A.R.E.S’ public relations coordinator and fundraising chair. “At this time of the year we tend to be fairly full; at the moment we’re very full.”

The shelter normally houses between 65 and 70 cats; currently there are nearly 90 adult cats staying there. As well, there are 30 to 40 kittens being fostered out.

C.A.R.E.S is a no-kill shelter, so its cats will stay there for as long as it takes to find them permanent homes; some have been at the shelter for more than a decade.

And while their safety is assured, it can be draining on the cats.

“They get ‘shelteritis’” Healey-Ogden said. “This is not a natural place for cats. We do our best to keep them comfortable. Some of them are still scared. Some of them, you can pat them then they’ll swat you. There’s a few behaviours where if they can have a foster home to socialize them, it gets them out of these biting and scratching (behaviours).”

Healey-Ogden says nine times out of 10, if a feline can live in a foster home, “the behaviours gradually go away.”

C.A.R.E.S relies heavily on donations and volunteers for its existence. To donate directly online, visit www.carescatshelter.com.

The need for help is vital. “With the increase now in cats and kittens we have, obviously our food costs go up, and every cat we take in, we have them vet checked,” Ellis said.

“So our costs have gone up quite dramatically.”

A rule of thumb, Ellis said, is if C.A.R.E.S takes a cat in and then adopts it out, “we break even, at best.”

Walk for the Cats

A key fundraiser is C.A.R.E.S. Walk for the Cats happening Sunday, Sept. 10 at Derby Reach Park in Fort Langley.

Registration (a minimum $20 in pledges) for the 14th annual fundraiser is from noon to 1 p.m.

The five-kilometre walks gets underway at 1 p.m.

Anyone wishing to register ahead of time for the walk, obtain a pledge form, or make a pledge or general donation can visit the C.A.R.E.S’ website (www.carescatshelter.com). For early registrants, go to the website, print out the registration form, and mail in the registration fee by Aug. 31 to: 373-47 20821 Fraser Highway, Langley BC, V3A 4G7.

People can also register on site, for a minimum $20 donation.

Last year was the most successful Walk for the Cats in the event’s history, with roughly 80 participants helping to raise in the neighbourhood of $11,000.

After the walk, a free barbecue and prizes for the top three pledges are offered.

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