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Feral cat welfare organizations in Kingston receive ‘windfall’ food donation

Two independently-operated feral cat rescue organizations are the recipients of a donation of approximately 2,400 cans of cat food. On Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, Jennifer Allan, a former owner of Urban Paws, transported the donation of Wellness pet food, valued at $6,500, to the home of Forgotten Ferals founder, Donna Cowie-Ducharme. The donation is being split between Cowie-Ducharme and Kendra Pople-Easton of Kendra’s Community Kitties.

The grateful recipients of the 2,400 cans of cat food stand next to their delivery. Pictured from left to right: Donna Cowie-Ducharme (Forgotten Ferals) holding a kitten, Kendra Pople-Easton (Kendra’s Community Kitties), and delivery co-ordinator Jennifer Allan. Photo by Taylor Tye.

The large donation comes just one week after the generous outpouring of financial donations to animal welfare organizations in the name of the #BettyWhiteChallenge. While a few well-known registered charities such as the Kingston Humane Society and Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre received donations totalling over several thousand dollars, there are a few not-for-profit, independently run animal welfare organizations that are still in need of support.

Two of these “unsung heroes” in the Kingston area are Cowie-Ducharme and Pople-Easton. Both women are passionate about feral welfare and independently provide assistance to community cats in need through a variety of services. Both organizations offer trapping, spay and neutering, vaccination, and returning(TNVR) services. Additionally, they provide opportunities for adopting or fostering cats. If a cat prefers to stay feral, then barn hire or colony care are also options.

Kendra’s Community Kitties (KCK) is responsible for six cat colonies in the area, according to their website. With help from donations such as this one, Pople-Easton is able to feed upwards of 45 feral cats per day, while Cowie-Ducharme has around 60 to 70 cats in foster care, Allan relayed.

The donation of canned cat food comes from a supplier to Urban Paws who wishes to remain anonymous. “One of the representatives of the supplier contacted me and said ‘I have a significant amount of short-dated food’ — meaning that its date coming up to its best before date, which is not an expiry date,” Allan explained. “It’s still perfectly fine food.” The representative knew that Allan maintained connections with animal welfare organizations from her time at Urban Paws and asked if she could distribute the food supply to them according to their needs.

“Three of my cats came through these rescues, so I know firsthand the tremendous dedication and sacrifice these women make to help feral cats in our city,” Allan expressed in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “Kendra goes out every single day, no matter what the weather, no matter what her personal health or anything is, and feeds her colony cats and is always on the lookout for cats that are injured,” she continued of the women’s dedication.

“A lot of people are completely unaware that there are these unsung heroes in the community that are doing this work, largely unrecognized. I feel like they need both recognition and support to continue doing what they do,” expressed Allan. She explained that the City of Kingston does provide a certain number of organizations with funding for TNVR services, and that both Forgotten Ferals and Kendra’s Community Kitties have been recipients of such funding in the past. However, these animal welfare organizations are in constant need of donations such as food, litter, carriers, and flea treatments. The Forgotten Ferals has a wishlist on their website that lists their needs and accepts both direct monetary and supply donations.

On informing the two women of the food donation, Allan said, “they were both were pretty much in tears because it’s just it’s a huge windfall for them.” Kendra echoed these sentiments of gratitude upon the Wednesday delivery.

Allan would like express her gratitude to Urban Paws for receiving the food on behalf of both organizations.

A trunk full of 2,400 cans of cat food arrives at Donna Cowie-Ducharme’s home on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. Photo by Taylor Tye.
Ted Hsu for MPP
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