Hope for Canberra’s street cats

Alexandra Craig 19 April 2016 4

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.

To view the cats up for adoption, click here.

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4 Responses to Hope for Canberra’s street cats
roznoz roznoz 11:22 pm 17 Oct 14

watch out who you give cats to,some people are cruel to cats in this city.

gill88 gill88 12:33 am 31 Aug 14

All my cats have been strays, the last being one I caught as a small kitten at the back of the Canberra Theatre around 6 years ago.

After having an elderly neighbour receiving an unwanted present of a pregnant stray and a litter of four kittens later, I was flatly unamused by the RSPCAs response when I rang them to have all 5 cats taken to them for de-sexing and asked if I could pay via a payment plan. (The pensioner could afford the food for the cats, but de-sexing 5 for her just wasn’t an option.)

The RSPCA told me it was upfront payment and that was the end of the matter. So much for encouraging people to ask responsibly towards animals.

I rang round and found a couple of vets who were willing to assist and offered me a cheaper rate.

It may just be my experience, but the RSPCA definitely didn’t give a flying rats about the animals in my case, they’re another ‘charity’, just hell bent on making money!

I wouldn’t give the RSPCA the time of day after that, let alone my money.

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 8:21 am 27 Aug 14

gooterz said :

“she can keep cats for as long as it takes for them to find their forever home.”

Isn’t that the same as the RSPCA?

The only thing cats are good for is killing all the mice.

No, it’s different. As far as I’m aware, if animals aren’t rehomed within a certain amount of time they get moved to another RSPCA shelter. Moving around a lot and living in a cage isn’t good for any animal for an extended period of time.

gooterz gooterz 9:39 pm 26 Aug 14

“she can keep cats for as long as it takes for them to find their forever home.”

Isn’t that the same as the RSPCA?

The only thing cats are good for is killing all the mice.

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