Mall explains why it started Operation Feral Cat after employees hacked a stray to death

Photo: For illustrative purposes only.

Cradlestone Mall has released a statement about its Operation Feral Cat, saying that the aim is to promote education, awareness and an understanding of homeless cats.

The project came into being after employees of Game Cradlestone hacked a stray cat to death with a hockey stick at the beginning of May.

Initial article: Cradlestone Game employees hack cat to death

In the statement, the Mall’s management said it supports the reduction and control of the number of free-roaming and abandoned cats through humane capture by local departments and animal control agencies.

“Feral cats are sometimes also called community cats, because many are not wild-born, but have been thrown out, abandoned or become lost,” said Katlego Maseloane, spokesperson for the Mall. “If guardians have failed to sterilise these cats, the problem soon multiplies in the form of litters of kittens born to a life of suffering.”

She added that a six-month-old female cat can have three litters of kittens in the space of a year, which means the colony begins to expand at a startling speed and in frightening numbers.

“These young females experience high levels of stress while nursing, and without human intervention, as many as half the litter may die.”

The Mall encouraged public education about the risks and critical welfare of abandoned, homeless cats and providing a better quality of life.

The Mall has put up various feeding stations for cats around the premises and claims that they are working well.

“The need to bring relief to these cats, as well as compassionately manage rapidly expanding feral colonies, is an important part of our mission, and close to our hearts.”

To establish a clean, healthy population, Cradlestone Mall and Game have pledged to sponsor R20 000 towards food and sterilisation costs for the cats.

Operation Feral Cat subscribes to the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) practice – feral cats are trapped and taken to a vet, where they are then sterilised, vaccinated, treated and ear-tipped.

Also Read: Cradlestone responds to cat death by launching project

Ear-tipping is the surgical removal of the extreme tip of the cat’s ear to identify it as having been sterilised.

They are then returned to the mall as quickly as possible. Trappings – often late at night – are carried out and managed by a committed volunteer, Annatjie van Niekerk.

The aim of the project is to formalise and compassionately manage the cats that have already been sterilised and treated by the Mall, and to expand their ability to treat these cats and educate staff and the public.

The number of cats the Mall can help is dependent on the generous support of animal lovers. You can help them further this vital work by donating dry cat food and big feeders for food and water to the feeding programme, as well as kennels and blankets to give shelter. Should you want to donate funds to assist with sterilisation, send an email to [email protected].

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Bianca Pindral

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