Norfolk cat shelter overwhelmed with calls for help

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DELHI Purrfect Companions in Norfolk County are struggling to cope with the large number of abandoned cats brought to the shelter daily.

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Brenda Cameron, a volunteer with the cat rescue operation in Delhi, said people were showing up at all hours of the day.

” We are here to help you ; we want to help,” Cameron said. “But we have a waiting list and we can’t let people show up at the door unannounced.

“We also need people to pay a surrender fee because a lot of these cats need help and vets don’t and shouldn’t do the job for free.”

She said many people who bring cats to the shelter at 19 Brantford Rd. don’t want to contribute financially to the care of the animals.

“They seem to have a ‘that’s not my cat’ attitude and we really need that thinking to change.”

A non-profit organization, Purrfect Companions is not open to public deposits. And adoptions are by appointment only and only after an application has been approved.

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The organization’s buyout fee is $80, which goes directly to animal care, including vaccinations, microchipping, and neutering.

Cameron said veterinary costs have increased significantly.

Purrfect Companions is run by volunteers who are dedicated to finding homes for stray and abandoned cats. They rely on fundraising, donations and redemption fees to cover annual operating costs of over $300,000.

With a three-month waiting list, the shelter receives at least 10 calls a day about stray, abandoned and injured cats and kittens. Calls for help are coming from other areas, including Brantford and Hamilton.

Cameron is urging people, especially those outside Norfolk, to contact other relief organizations first. A list can be found at

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Residents are also encouraged to contact a rescue organization before problems with abandoned cats or kittens spiral out of control.

“A lot of people see an abandoned kitten or cat and they want to help so they start giving out food,” Cameron said. “They are compassionate, they want to help and we understand that.

“But, in some cases, the situation is spiraling out of control and by the time we are called upon it has become well beyond our ability to help.”

The shelter is aware of three local situations of residents having 20-30 or more cats on their property. All animals are unvaccinated and breeding.

“We just don’t have the resources to undertake big rescues like this,” Cameron said.

Purrfect Companions went to one of the properties and took in seven kittens. All were sick and had upper respiratory problems and runny eyes.

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The shelter has not received any money to take in the kittens. The estimated bill for treating the kittens before they are put up for adoption is around $3,000.

The shelter has also had to deal with outbreaks of panleukopenia, a highly contagious viral disease of cats caused by feline parvovirus.

Volunteers disinfect the shelter daily to keep the virus at bay.

The shelter is also trying to renovate the basement into a quarantine area for incoming cats.

Volunteers are needed to clean shifts and to help with other tasks.

You can reach Purrfect Companions at 226-227-8289.

For more information, visit his website at

[email protected]

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