Shelter teeters under weight of feral cats

Shelter teeters under weight of feral cats - Contributed photo
Shelter teeters under weight of feral cats
— image credit: Contributed photo

The recent discovery of two colonies of feral cats has left the Friday Harbor Animal Protection Society "cash-strapped" and seeking help.

What started as two or three cats rapidly became full-blown colonies of over 30 cats in each, with several pregnant females as part of that count. According to Rina Tappan, APS shelter employee, “Many of these cats and kittens have upper respiratory issues or other health problems and all of them need to be spayed or neutered”.

Some progress has been made by removing some of the tamer cats and kittens from one of the colonies, but those are believed to be just the tip of the iceberg, according to APS.

The first four cats, all females about 4-months old, have received veterinary care and have been spayed at a local veterinary clinic. A female and seven of her kittens were recently removed from that same colony and will be relocated to the Orcas Island APS.

The two colonies promise to be a long-term project for the shelter – at least 40 other cats and kittens must be spayed or neutered and then either returned to the colony they came from or placed up for adoption if they prove to be tame.

“This is a huge financial burden on our organization, but it’s also one of the reasons why we are here.” said shelter Director Leslie Byron. “Aside from the veterinary expense, there is also the cost of feeding, housing and transporting all these cats, not to mention the ongoing expense of providing food for those cats who are too wild to be placed in homes and must be returned to where they came from.”

APS is seeking donations to help off-set the cost of caring for these cats. Islanders in need of a barn cat are encouraged to contact the shelter, 378-2158; donations can be delivered to the shelter, 111 Shelter Road, or made online at,


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