Feline Network works to help stray or unwanted cats across Torbay

Feline Network takes in stray or unwanted cats and finds them new homes

Feline Network takes in stray or unwanted cats and finds them new homes - Credit: Archant

Debbie Johnson on the work of Torbay's Feline Netork

Feline Network's shop in Torquay Road, Paignton

Feline Network's shop in Torquay Road, Paignton - Credit: Archant

Crazy cat lady. Since that has always been my nickname, it came as no surprise to anyone that I set up a cat rescue.

Feline Network was born in 2009 and came about because I could not find a space in rescue for two kittens. So armed with said kittens, a £10 donation and a carrier, Feline Network into being.

Why the name Feline Network? Well, I always envisaged working alongside other rescues, and within the community to help people and their cats, maximising any support available.

The main bulk of our work is taking in stray or unwanted cats and finding them new homes.

This involves them being fostered in volunteers' homes while they undergo neutering, vaccination and microchipping, as well as the usual vet checks.

Obviously, this does not fund itself - many a fundraising event was attended, cakes by the dozen baked, costumes donned and carnivals attended!

Most Read

In 2011, we acquired our first shop, the size of a postage stamp but a great start, and we moved over the next few years into increasingly bigger premises. Today, we are in Torquay Road, in a large, two-floor shop in the style of a department store.

We have many cats in care who due to ill health or age, are unhomable so we give them sanctuary status. They stay with us for life.

As a no-kill rescue, this is a big part of our ongoing work. More about our oldies and FIV cats in future columns.

In latter years, we have become increasingly aware of the amount of strays locally, a relentless stream of phone calls asking for help with either stray or injured cats - mostly unneutered males who, as kittens, got lost and had to fend for themselves.

In the 30 years I have helped cats, despite ongoing charity campaigns for free or cheap neutering, this problem seems to get worse by the year.

Some of these cats are in a horrendous condition.

Social media has been a tool in helping reunite missing cats. It also brings to the fore how many desperate cats there are,

When we get these calls, we make a visit, assess the cat for injuries and general condition, place a paper collar on them in hopes of finding an owner.

Often there is no owner. These cats have been living like this for years - torn ears, fight weary, sometimes with illnesses and old injuries.

Another aspect of our outreach work is scanning cats for microchips.

It's worth mentioning that often the information is out of date, thus making the microchip useless, more on this in later articles.

There have been occasions when the outreach team have located an owner only to be told the cat has been missing, sometimes for years!

Three years ago, we scanned a stray in Torquay - the owner was traced to York! They made the trip down to retrieve their lost cat.

We also do a lot of work locally helping feral cats, either trapping to neuter and rehome or once neutered, placing back in their original environment.

With so much work for our outreach team, we have an exciting project that launched on Monday, August 24 - keep an eye out for more information!

Volunteers are always needed to aid us in our work.

If you are interested in helping us raise funds, or foster our cats, help with admin or helping at grassroots level with the outreach team, we would love to hear from you.

We are also looking to build a proactive fundraising team. There are loads of different ways of being a crazy cat lady – or man!

Contact us by calling 01803 392550, emailing Felinenetwork2009@gmail.com or log on to www.felinenetwork.co.uk