Charity Champion: Cat Assistance Team, Garden Route

Charity Champion: Cat Assistance Team, Garden Route

Our parcel appeal allows us to send vital medication and equipment to animal welfare charities across the globe. We’re championing these smaller charities who have been supported by WVS through the years, enabling them to reach even more animals in need! Amidst washing a load of cat blankets and tending to the eight cats currently recovering in her garage, we’ve been chatting to Rita Brock, founder of the Cat Assistance Team (CAT) in the Garden Route, South Africa about why she set up the charity and how WVS has helped!

WVS has been supporting CAT with parcels since 2007, so our 10th anniversary of partnership is a perfect occasion to highlight the incredible work being done. From Percy receiving CAT’s first WVS parcel, to our most recent Mandela Day delivery in 2017, we have been striving to ensure even more cats are being treated.

Due to the nature of outreach work, vet fees are too expensive for rural communities, and parasite control medication is always needed to treat the feral cats. Feral cats are often the ones overlooked and not recognized as part of society and so are often regarded as a pest. When Rita saw these colonies, she knew she had to help them. “This doesn’t look right, my heart told me,” she explained. Now, 17 years later, Rita is still dedicated to helping the feral cats of the region, through trap-neuter-release sterilization programmes and food distribution.

No day is the same for the CAT team in the Garden Route but their work is having a significant impact. The local SPCA are now seeing a massive reduction in calls, thanks to the work being done by Rita and her team to care for the cats, both owned and feral, in the community.

In a career that has spanned almost two decades with CAT, Rita has had some incredible highlights that show the importance of animal welfare. “Going back to a feral colony and seeing them healthy and beautiful is a real highlight,” Rita explains, showing how much of a difference is being made. But every cat is a highlight and each parcel sent out, each medication administered, is another cat helped.

Our parcels allow CAT to reach more animals and more communities, meaning we can make a real difference. “The parcels – they kept me alive”, Rita said, proving it is not only the animals that benefit from our parcel appeal.

It was fitting that our most recent delivery to the CAT Team arrived in time for a Mandela Day celebration, sterilising cats and deworming them as well as educating people on pet ownership. “Mandela Day is about compassion, empathy but also helping people as well as animals,” Rita explained, and WVS are only more than happy to help! CAT are now treating an impressive 500-600 cats per year, with support from our regular parcels.

Surprisingly, Rita never owned a pet until the age of 35, despite volunteering in animal welfare throughout her life. She now shares her home with four rescue cats along with a number of other cats that are currently being treated from the day’s work and are awaiting release back into the community. “There’s not one minute I regret – I’m delighted to be a part of it,” said Rita.

WVS are proud to be supporting animal champions such as Rita and her team and look forward to our partnership continuing to help more animals in need in future years!

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