Everyone knows that cat owners are more intelligent and culturally sophisticated than their dog-patting counterparts. And so it follows the more cats you own the more well-balanced you will become.

Every year hundreds of unwanted street cats are euthanised because good homes cannot be found for them. But one organisation is attempting to change this one adorable kitty at a time.

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Cat Concern started in May 2009; eight months after the closure of Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital in Sydney left about 80 homeless feline critters roaming the streets. And as co-founder Jonine Penrose-Wall explains, 80 animals quickly multiplied.

Penrose-Wall, a PHD student from the University of NSW, says that “usually colonies of cats are just ignored and they multiply and threaten native wildlife”. To try and remedy this she and another concerned local began trapping, de-sexing and immunising the free roamers.

The organisation, which is now run by six volunteers, has managed to find homes for about 40 kittens and get the litter down to only 30, an impressive effort considering adult free roamers are usually considered unsuitable for re-homing. Cat Concern’s evidence seems to debunk this theory; Penrose-Wall herself has four re-homed cats. “If we were to give the animals to council they would be euthanised,” she said. “We’ve shown they can be rehomed.”

Apart from small donations received from new owners for animal health care the organisation is entirely self funded and operating costs for feeding, immunisation and de-s-xing mean that they spend about $10,000 a year. They are currently in talks with Leichardt council in Sydney about securing funding for an on-site building that would help to manage cat colonies from all over Sydney.

Apart from finding homes for animals that would otherwise be without one the volunteers are also hopeful that their work is having a positive environmental effect. By feeding the cats that remain at the site they believe they may be contributing to a flourishing bird population in the area.

While Penrose-Wall isn’t familiar with any other group in Australia that focuses so heavily on re-housing stray cats there are plenty of organisations such as the Animal Welfare League (AWL) that provide adoption services. Cat Concern has several animals waiting for adoption including Rusty, a ginger cat with SVI who needs a home away from other cats and Tabitha, a tabby kitten.

The details: Anyone interested in adopting a cat or kitten from Cat Concern can contact Jonine Penrose-Wall on 0409 741414 or via email.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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