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By ALAINA BARTEL
Daily News Staff Writer
Bev Davies and Margaret Cloud have set out on a mission to help the community cats of Ketchikan, after noticing an influx of feral cats in certain areas.
Cloud explained that year after year, several feral cats that make their home around Tatsuda’s IGA. Katherine Tatsuda began trapping the cats, and two of them went to live with Cloud — Herbert and Miss Hiss. That was the start of the Ketchikan Community Cats Program.
Founded by Davies and Cloud and many foster cat parents, the KCCP hopes to help the feral and community cats that wander Ketchikan’s streets. Davies calls them community cats because she doesn’t like the word “feral.”
“Feral is a connotation that these are nasty, hissy, spitty, mean cats, and they’re not,” Davies said. “They’re community cats that have either been dumped, abandoned, neglected, lost or born on the streets. It’s not their choice to be born out in the cold and the rain.”
The KCCP takes the cats in, fosters them and teaches them to trust humans. Its goal is to adopt them out to families as soon as they’re comfortable with people, so they don’t bond too much with their foster cat parents.
“While it’s great to keep them until they’re super friendly and wonderful, it’s not necessarily going to be in their best interest,” Cloud explained. “We really do need to be able to move them to a family just as they’re getting to the point of being ok so they can then bond with the family.”
Cloud and Davies do this by keeping the public informed about adoptable cats on their Facebook page, as well as giving socialized, adoptable cats to Ketchikan Animal Protection to make room in their homes for other cats in need.
Anyone interested in a community cat should visit the Ketchikan Community Cats Program Facebook page. In lieu of an adoption fee, the KCCP asks people to donate $50 or more to the Ketchikan Humane Society.
The Ketchikan Humane Society has provided altering and rabies vaccinations for many of the cats, and community members have stepped up to foster kittens and cats, working with them until they’re socialized.
“When we give them that love and a safe environment, they make the best pets,” Davies said. “They are absolutely gorgeous; they’re loving. They all have individual personalities, they all have their likes and dislikes just like people. They are the best pets, and they are the most appreciative pets because they know what it’s like living on the streets and how rough and crappy it is.”
Along with fostering the cats, Cloud said there are many other ways to help, as the KCCP has no income source and relies on the community for assistance. If someone sees a stray cat wandering their neighborhood, and they don’t look healthy, Cloud said they can borrow a trap from the humane society or Ketchikan Gateway Borough Animal Protection to get the cat in a safe environment.
Other ways to help include donating items, such as wire training crates, litter boxes, cat beds, food bowls and dishes, cat litter (clay, clumping, or Feline Pine), cat food, small blankets for bedding, plastic totes, styrofoam and straw for feral boxes, and monetary donations to the humane society to help with continued veterinarian expenses.
There has already been at least one success story from the Ketchikan Community Cats Program — the story of Richard.
“Richard was exceedingly feral,” Cloud noted.
At first, she didn’t know if Richard was a boy or a girl because Richard wouldn’t allow Cloud to hold it. After Cloud worked with Richard for a while, Richard finally trusted her. Cloud was able to pick Richard up only to find that there were no boy parts — she was a girl. But the name remains. She’s still Richard, even after being adopted.
“Richard had a very good Christmas,” her new owner posted in the Ketchikan Community Cats Program Facebook group. “She is getting along great with her dog siblings and is the most snuggly, playful and friendly little kitty. She healed up quick from her spay surgery and loves to carry stuffed animals around the house. You would never know meeting her now that she was a feral demon cat trapped at the airport. Her name is still Richard but we call her Dickie.”