Cat rescue group says hundreds of house cats being 'dumped' on farmers

A cat rescue organization has a message for cat owners: stop dumping your unwanted cats on farmers.  Hundreds of cats are being left outside barns and laneways and for most of them, it's a death sentence. The folks who are doing this think they're giving their cat a nice country life to live in a barn and catch mice.

But house cats and barn cats don't mix. And farmers simply don't want them.

In a tiny run down barn near Kemptville, fresh paw prints are visible everywhere.  The barn was home a few weeks ago to dozens of cats, many of them former house cats dumped there by owners who no longer wanted them. Their solution now became this farmer's problem.

“It was costing them nearly $800 a month to feed them,” says Sandi Lawson, as she peeks inside the barn for yet more of the felines.

Lawson runs Adopt Me Cat Rescue, along with volunteer Janice Richard, an organization Sandi started after discovering this issue was all too common. Hundreds of cats were being left in rural driveways, ditches and barns.

“The misconception is that the farmer will look after them,” says Janice Richard, “That they'll have mice. That’s not what happens. They're city cats, domesticated cats.  They don't know anything about the hierarchy that goes on in these barns.”

At the Kemptville-area farm alone, Lawson rounded up close to 60 cats.  Most of them were unfixed and unvetted and many of them now live at Sandi's home, where the basement has become a cat rescue.

There are 27 cats in the cattery, most of them barn cats.  Many of them were in really rough shape when they came to the cat rescue, diseased, starved, missing eyes, but they've been vetted and rehabilitated.

“This is Baron,” says Lawson, as she strokes the fur of a friendly, one-eyed cat, “Baron was a kitten from a barn and he lost his eye in the process.”

Some of the cats are too sick to survive.  Others, Lawson nurses back to health, with the aim, to find them a home.

Her other aim is to educate cat owners that if they can’t care for their pet, don't dump it at farm.  It isn't fair to the cat or the farmer.

“It's a huge burden on the farmers,” she says, “Some take care of it but others don't have the means to vet them all.”

Lawson says the vast majority of abandoned cats will die either through disease or starvation. Unless, they're lucky enough to land at Lawson’s house.