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August, 2015



Momentous news!! In December 2014 a semi-feral ginger male escaped out of my car while on the way to the vet. Canvassing the area and regular notices on Facebook brought no response and I had resigned myself to him being forever lost. However, a few weeks ago a resident of Glastonbury Road posted pictures of an unsterilised ginger male cat that had started visiting them.

Hardly daring to hope, I emailed the pics to his owners Neil and Andrea and low and behold, it was him!! They were ecstatic that he had turned up and couldn't wait to see him again. Ginger was collected the afternoon of 18 August, kept at my home overnight and the next morning taken to the vet (in an extremely well-secured carrier) for his long-overdue sterilisation. That afternoon I took him home and what a reunion it was.... When I took the carrier out of the car he knew immediately that he was home - SO happy, no fear or distress, tail up, sniff the air, hallo to his delighted little human. As his biological mother has also adopted the family, I was interested to see how they would accept each other and apparently, she was thrilled to see him but he kept chasing her away from the food - a reaction, I guess, to the lack of regular meals of the last few months.

This week's report from Andrea: He has adjusted so well, it's like he never left! He started going out by the 3rd day and already knows his way around. He seemed to remember which window we used to leave open and we had to just keep showing him the other one. Mommy cat put her foot down and so the fighting has stopped. :) The only difference now is that he is more a house cat than a feral one.


The Project has spayed six cats (two on heat, one pregnant) and neutered five cats in this past month (up to 28 August). When Lorna and I think of all those babies that will not be conceived we really feel like doing the happy dance!

If you have a cat visiting that you have not seen before, immediately make all efforts via posters in the area and Facebook to find the owner. If you suspect that the cat has been abandoned, please phone the SPCA to collect. With males it is easy to check if they have been sterilised, but not easy to tell with females. A local resident had a beautiful calico girl visiting her and before she could get her to the vet, the cat became pregnant and had to be aborted of five foetuses, which could have been avoided. Sad though it is, these are five less kittens who may never have found homes, perhaps turned feral, not been TNRd and then gone on to have more kittens, thereby adding to the overwhelming population of unwanted cats. This very young girl has been lucky enough to immediately find a home with Janet Longman, but sadly this is the exception rather than the rule and older kittens and adults can spend months in foster care before they get adopted.

Useful Facebook pages:

Grahamstown Animal Network (GRAN):

Grahamstown Missing Pets:



Our next cash and coin collection will be on Saturday 3 October outside Pick 'n Pay. If you can shake a tin for an hour or two, please contact Mary Bowker on 083 625 7293 so that she can fill up her roster.

Viv Botha and Eileen Shepherd are arranging a clothing sale for 24 October - time and place to be confirmed - and are calling for contributions. If you have any decent second-hand clothing, bedding or curtains that you no longer need, please get in touch with one of us:

Viv Botha: 046 636 1940 or 072 020 5001

Eileen Shepherd: 046 636 1737 or 078 099 7711

Or drop at:

Lynne Grant:
87 Beaufort Street
(weekdays, during office hours)

Progress of Adopted Cats

The week of 27 July to 1 August was a hectic one for us: we were involved in the sterilisation, fostering or adoption of no less than SEVEN cats! Henna was adopted by Greg and Hermien Wilmot; Laney was adopted by Graham and Eileen Shepherd; Teddy and Bear, who were urgently needing a new home or foster because their owner is leaving town were taken into foster care by June McDougall and adopted shortly afterward by Nadia Schmidtke; two kittens trapped and homed by the SPCA were sterilised via the Project and a feral kitten, Grey, who adopted Judy Paul and her family, was TNRd and, according to Judy, has pretty much given up the feral life according to Judy.

From Nadia Schmidtke

Teddy (female tortoise shell) and Bear (male ginger) have settled in quickly. They spent the first hour in our home under the bed but quickly started exploring. They are very playful and have enjoyed taking some books from the shelf (presumably to read). We got them some Hill's Science Diet food which June suggested and they have good appetites. As a treat we give Bear some chicken and Teddy some fish. We quickly saw that Teddy is a madam who does not have a taste for chicken. She seems to also have a taste for her tail as she is quick to nibble on it when I move it about which is hilarious and endearing to watch.

  They have several sleeping places. A cat bed that Bear loves and a covered bed (from June) that Bear also loves even though it was intended for Teddy who likes closed areas. Another favourite is sleeping on my gym bag. They of course spend a lot of time sleeping, followed by looking out the window. We are keeping them indoors so they can get used to the place and as protection from the cat next door. Over time we plan to introduce them to the garden and are considering building them an outdoor play pen.
We decided to keep their names as it suits them and they are probably used to it. Bronwyn, the original owner, came to visit them and was happy to see them. I am sorry that she was unable to keep them as I can see how much she loves and misses them. That love is definitely evident in the pair. They are affectionate and sweet cats that I am blessed to have :)  


From Eileen Shepherd

Laney, a 5 year old male, came to us from an established colony. He is a gentle-natured little guy, pure black. He has been with us for a month already. Not surprisingly he is still very nervous but is gradually adjusting to domesticity. He loves his food and has put on weight - something we will have to watch! His favourite 'safe' spot is a chair in our bedroom to which he rapidly retreats when alarmed. The picture shows him on this chair playing "snake" with an old bootlace! Of course he is longing to get outside but that will take a while yet. We are so glad we adopted him and look forward to many happy years with our new friend. Not so sure is our female tortie, Miss Piggy, who is just tolerating him. She has been surprisingly accommodating but has certainly not yet reached the warm and fuzzy stage in her relationship with her new brother! By the way Laney's new name - chosen by Graham - is Pookah - why, I don't know, but it will do! I call him Pookie.


News of our Ferals

Although we spend a lot of time helping and rehoming tame cats and kittens, our focus is still on the ferals and our funds must be directed to TNR.

In 2014 I was approached by somebody working at a state institution to assist with trapping of a colony on the premises but due to work commitments, she was unable to TNR all the cats. Not knowing anybody who works there and being unable to access the property myself, I had to hope that the cats were not breeding too madly! Thankfully she emailed me again to say that she has a new team together who can help with the trapping, so she now has two traps and TNR has commenced this week, with five cats (four of whom are female) being sterilised!

Mandy at Beaufort Street has been given another trap as she has a new resident and is determined that there will be no kittens. We are very grateful to her for looking after the colony and keeping an eye out for newcomers. I deliver food every week to supplement what Mandy gives them; if anybody would like to make a donation towards this, it can be dropped with me at 87 Beaufort Street.


From Ros Parker

(After a hiatus due to work, health and family commitments, Ros has started trapping again.)

Thursday morning was cold and wet but I was determined to trap a little female (let's call her Sylvia) who was being harassed by two large male cats. I set the trap and Sylvia's little 5-month old kitten wound his way around my feet, hungry but every time I put my hand down to stroke him, he ran off. A few minutes later he walked into the trap (where I had a tasty dish of fish) but did not go far enough down to set the trap off. I walked a little further away and Sylvia could not resist the lure of fishy treats. She stepped into the trap and onto the metal step and down came the door. It was very gentle and she did not jump in fright but when she suddenly realised that she was caught, began to panic. I quickly covered the trap with a heavy blanket and she settled. I fed the rest of the colony and walked home with my prize! Off to the vet and after a day of surgery and recovery, I collected a very sleepy Sylvia. She was in full heat so just as well I have prevented another unwanted litter of kittens. The weather last Thursday was appalling and I kept Sylvia in the cage for the night, giving her fresh water and a bit of pamper and kept the blanket over the cage. She was snug and warm, albeit in a cage.

Friday was freedom day and I took her back to the feeding spot and opened the cage. She shot off like a bullet but has been waiting for me every day for food. Now my goal is to catch the kitten (I called him Roger) and I have been gentling him and he now allows me to stroke him and also to pick him up by the scruff. I will get to the vet asap.

This particular colony is small but I am determined to get all the cats sterilised soon. My biggest problem is one of the large males - I have been trying to catch him for over three years! The minute he sees the cage, he runs and I don't see him for days. I call him Stompie because he has no tail. I am sure he is the father of many in my area.

I feed a very lovely, gentle black kitty called Sooty in the ditch. She is already sterilised (thanks to Lynne and Lorraine) and has the most lovely nature. I wish I could find her a forever home - she is lonely and waits for me every morning, rolls onto her back and enjoys a tummy rub.

If anybody would like to know more about Sooty, please contact Ros to arrange a meet and greet. Her cell number is 082 758 4903. It would be awesome if she could find a home. So many of our "ferals" are so tame and well-socialised with humans, but unfortunately there are just too few homes.


Tips for Finding Lost Cats

1) Not all missing cats are lost or want to be found. Cats are notorious for hiding in impossible places. Before you assume kitty is missing, make a thorough search indoors, around the porch, garage and yards armed with a flashlight and the tastiest, smelliest treats. This is when a cat trained to respond to the "come" command pays off. If a cat is injured, trapped or hyper-stressed, they may not respond to a command but it improves the odds. Yes, some cats leave home for whatever reason and don't want to be found. Try anyway. The stats for lost cats returning home without intervention are about 2%. The odds are improved by having a microchip and wearing a collar and tag.

2) Don't waste time. If you know your cat is missing, grab your cellphone with a photo of your cat uploaded, flashlight and treats and head out. Wear comfortable clothes and comfortable soft-soled shoes. Don't panic. Breathe, try to be calm and think like a cat. If you were a cat where would you go? Begin around your house and spread out to the immediate neighbors on all sides. Where does your cat normally head? What is the most likely escape route? What are their favourite bushes or hiding spots? Crouch low under porches, scan high on roof lines and tree branches. Could something have recently happened to spook them? Construction or a new neighbor's cat or dog? Or has anything happened recently in your home to upset them; like the chemicals from getting your carpets cleaned or bringing out suitcases for a trip?

3) While you're searching, ask pedestrians, knock on neighbor's doors and show the photo. Ask if you can check their garage, sheds, under the porch. I must admit I did, in my desperation trespass in neighbors' gardens. This is no time to be shy. To save time, multi-task during the search: leave a missing cat report with your vet, SPCA and on Facebook.

4) When you return home, leave food and water outside your door. Fearful cats will often slink out after dark. Leaving a baby monitor near the food may detect faint meows. Local TNR rescue rescues will often lend a trap. Using their suggestions, set up a trap. Be prepared, you may trap a raccoon or other cat. Go outside one last time to check and call your cat's name before bedtime. Try to get some rest. Leaving no stone unturned to find your cat takes energy. In the quiet darkness, try to communicate with your cat. Imagine their face, call their name and connect heart to heart. Try to tune into where they might be. It may be a feeling, an image or sound. Reassure them that you will help get them home.

5) If you haven't already made a missing cat poster, make one. It doesn't have to be fancy but make sure the words "Lost Cat" are large enough to be visible from a passing vehicle or pedestrian. Choose or crop a large close-up showing details of the face and another photo showing the entire body, ideally standing up. If you're not computer savvy, you can glue a photo on a piece of paper and use a marker to write the text by hand. colour photos are preferable especially if your cat has a unique colour or markings. Copies printed on neon bright paper show well and use plastic page covers in case of rain. Include: your cat's name, description, any special identifying marks or collar, when last seen and where (cross street), your phone and e-mail but for security reasons not your name, address or amount of reward in case you are offering one. I also like adding contact info at the bottom of the page cut into four or five vertical strips that can easily be torn off.

6) Enlist family and friends to help post flyers and spread the word. Have push pins, tape and a staple gun depending on the surface. The best posting spots include street intersection poles and local bulletin boards at grocery stores.

7) Use social networking like Facebook and Twitter. Ask everyone to share.

8) Visit all your local shelters even if say they don't have a cat of your description.

9) If you've recently moved, extend your search to your old neighborhood.

10) Persevere! Cats have returned weeks and months later. Keep networking, and asking neighbors if they've noticed anything. Keep your flyers or posters fresh with a "Still Missing" header.




(31 July to 31 August)

Thank you so much to everyone who donated. Your support means so much to us and helps us to continue with our work.

Viv Botha
Sheryl Drennan
Colleen Duffy
Jenny Gon
Rina Goosen
Caren Lewis
Jeannie McKeown
Judy Paul
Nadia Schmidtke
Phia van Tonder

If making electronic payments please remember to include WILDCAT and your name as a reference so that we can thank you. Please email proof of payment to: l.grant@nelm.org.za


About Us

All donations go to sterilisation and a small portion to food.
Occasionally there are costs for veterinary care of ferals who are ill or injured.

We appreciate your generosity greatly as it enables us to continue helping the feral cats.
Spays cost us R440 and neuters R287,
plus extra for any complications such as pregnancy or undescended testes.

The adoption fee is R500, which includes first deworming and inoculation and obligatory sterilisation.

If you would like to donate any amount, please deposit into our vet account at:

The Grahamstown Veterinary Clinic,
Standard Bank Account No 282625054
Branch Code 050917

Please add the reference "W/CAT" and your name, and please notify us if possible
so that we can follow up donations in case of accidental misallocation

Please do not take any feral/stray cat into the vet for attention and charge it to our Wildcat account without prior approval from Lynne.

The Wildcat account with the vet is meant for sterilisation of ferals and will only under certain exceptional circumstances be used for other procedures.

Grahamstown Feral Cat Project uses the TNR (Trap, Neuter & Return) approach - globally recognised as the most humane, least costly and most sustainable way of stabilizing feral cat populations.

Volunteers humanely trap the feral cats; we take them to the vet to be spayed or neutered; the tip of the right ear is snipped off so we can easily identify that they have been sterilised; we return them to their original territory where they live out their lives (adult ferals cannot be tamed). Feral kittens, wherever possible, are fostered, tamed and homed.


Archived Newsletters

December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015


The Grahamstown Feral Cat project promotes responsible pet ownership. This includes proper care (feeding, vaccination and preventative treatment against parasites, etc.) and sterilisation to prevent unplanned kittens and reduce the number of homeless animals.



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Page updated on February 6, 2018