Micro-newspaper: Operation Catnip helps feral cats and you can too [text]

Title page

Image description: text on a white page with the Peterborough Currents logo

Text: Operation Catnip helps feral cats and you can too!
Words by Ayesha Barmania / Drawings by Amory Missios
A Peterborough Currents micro-newspaper
November 2018

Page 1

Image description: A person wearing glasses sits by a window looking at a small black cat on a snowy landscape.

Text: Around the beginning of November, I sat at my bedroom window, watching the street below me. As snow came down thick and fast, I noticed a funny little shadow moving up the road to my house.

It was a small black cat looking for a warm spot to sleep. If he’d been a bit fatter, I would have mistaken him for my own cat, Sparrow.

Page 2

Image description: A scared kitten on the left, a twirly arrow indicating a transformation and an awkward cat with his tail pointed high on the right.

Text: Sparrow also used to live outdoors as a feral kitten, until me and my roommates took him and his siblings in. Now, he’s our very awkward, kinda farty darling.

Page 3

Image description: On the left, a cat jumps and catches a bird. On the right, one cat mounted on another, both making eye contact with each other.

Text: Without humans to take care of them, feral, abandoned and stray cats can lead hard lives fending for themselves. They hunt small critters, search for warm spots to sleep, and they can mate freely with other cats.

Page 4

Image description: Cats and kittens look out from beneath the lower portion of a car.

Text: If left unchecked, these outdoor cats can have huge population growths — this is called a ‘feral cat colony’ when all live together. Big cat colonies can wreak havoc on local ecosystems by overhunting birds and other small animals.

Page 5

Image description: A chart with the x-axis reading ‘# of cats’ and the y-axis reading ‘year’ and an arrow indicating a steep steady increase.

Text: Brienne Taylor and Adam Rowland encountered a feral cat colony in 2016 when they saw three cats roaming near their cottage in Burleigh Falls. By the next year, these cats had multiplied to at least 26. And by 2018, there were almost fifty.

Page 6

Image description: A man with a cap with a speech bubble. An arrow points to the man and reads ‘Adam’.

Text: “When we first came up we would just feed the cats, but at one point we noticed last September there were a bunch of kittens that had been born, but unfortunately we learned after a particularly cold night that all those kittens had died. For us that was the point that we decided we had to do something to prevent more kittens from being born.”

Page 7

Image description: A woman with dark hair with a speech bubble. An arrow points to her and reads ‘Brienne’.

Text: “I had heard of an organization called Operation Catnip and I knew right away that they would be my first call. They have taught us everything we needed to know to take on this project. They are a very hard working group of women, and there’s no way I could have done any of this without them.”

Page 8

Image description: Two people talking to each other. The person on the right has a speech bubble with a cat icon and a question. The other person is identified as Monique Beneteau, Operation Catnip volunteer. She has a larger speech bubble, which reads:

Text: “In a nutshell, Operation Catnip is a Trap, Neuter and Release program. We trap cats who don’t have any owners, take them to vets, have them spayed and neutered, and return them to where we found them.”

Page 9

Image description: Stylized words read ‘Trap’ with a drawing of a cat in a cage, ‘Neuter’ with cartoon testes with an X over them, and ‘Release’ with a cat jumping away.

Text: Operation Catnip helps colony caregivers like Adam and Brienne to:
Trap,
Neuter,
Release.
At its core the strategy is about population control – preventing more feral kittens from being born.

Page 10

Image description: A woman with light hair and a ponytail with a speech bubble that reads, “O.C.”

Text: The group started after a snowstorm in February 2012. Founder Margaret Bonigut marshalled some volunteers and called a meeting. Over the next year they came up with a vision for what they wanted to achieve.

Since 2013, these volunteers have helped trap and neuter over 800 cats.

Page 11

Image description: A smug looking cat face with the caption ‘Punkin Head Sr.’

Text: And as of September 2018, Brienne and Adam announced that they had neutered each of the nearly 50 cats at Burleigh Falls. And many of those cats were adopted!

They are still looking to adopt out some cats – but these ones will always be a bit feral.

Page 12

Image description: A happy cat lounges on a blanket.

Text: As an owner of two formerly feral cats — I would encourage you to consider adopting one. If you can get them young and invest the time into building trust they can be sweet and loving pets.

And if you see feral, abandoned or stray cats in your neighbourhood, you can start out by making them an outdoor cat shelter and call Operation Catnip to get more involved.

Back cover

Image description: text on a white page with the Peterborough Currents logo

Text: Find more on Operation Catnip at: www.operationcatnip.ca

More on Brienne and Adam on Facebook: Burleigh Falls Cat Colony

Listen to the Peterborough Currents podcast: https://peterboroughcurrents.ptbopodcasters.ca

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Apple Podcasts @ptbo_currents

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