When a family decides they’re ready to bring a furry friend into their lives, they typically – much to my dismay – head to a pet store at their local mall to take their pick from teeny tiny kittens and puppies, often the product of puppy farming and backyard breeders. Some families do the more morally appropriate thing and head to the RSPCA to pick out a pet to bring home. There are also several animal rescue groups within the Territory that operate privately, with no financial assistance, fully funded by the individual that runs it.
One such group is ACT Cat Rescue and Rehoming. This group is run completely by one woman, Brenda Colbourne, who meets all financial costs on her own in order to save the lives of many cats and kittens in Canberra. All rescued cats live at Brenda’s home in Canberra’s southern suburbs and are able to go outside without escaping as Brenda has completely fenced her backyard with cat fencing.
While ACT Cat Rescue and Rehoming mainly specialises in cat rescue, Brenda has also rescued rabbits, cage birds, guinea pigs, poultry, horses and even a lamb.
Brenda previously volunteered for the RSCPA running their cattery and working on the reception desk for several years before branching out and starting her own cat rescue group.
One of the reasons Brenda attributes to creating her own group is that the RSPCA don’t have the luxury of keeping animals for long periods of time, and also because keeping cats in a cage is not ideal for their wellbeing. As Brenda operates from home, she can keep cats for as long as it takes for them to find their forever home.
There has been recent media attention on the rising number of feral cats in the ACT. The work Brenda does is slowly combating this problem one cat at a time as she often humanely traps wild cats and domesticates them so they are able to be rehomed. Brenda also rescues cats from other shelters and pounds that are facing death row due to not having found a home within a certain timeframe. If a cat from the streets is taken to Brenda, it is checked for microchip and all efforts are made to find its owner.
Last week a lovely ginger and white cat named Delphi has come into Brenda’s care. Delphi is severely malnourished and dehydrated which is not only hugely dangerous for Delphi herself but also for her unborn kittens. Because of Delphi’s poor health, the kittens may be born sleeping or pass away shortly after birth.
As you can imagine, the costs of rescuing and rehoming cats would be huge. General expenses such as food and litter add up (especially when several cats are in care at once), not to mention the astronomical vet fees for sick cats.
Brenda does not receive any government funding, and all costs come out of Brenda’s pocket, as well as the occasional donation from members of the general public.
The work Brenda does is amazing and all stems from her love of animals. If you can donate to assist with the ever-rising vet fees, you can get in contact with Brenda via Facebook.