Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Chelan Valley Feral Cat Project transforms lives of local cats

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CHELAN – Chelan and Manson area feral cats are given a new life through the efforts of the Chelan Valley Feral Cat Project (CVFCP), an effort coordinated by Chelan resident and CVFCP director April Leaf.  Leaf, through an initiative to trap, seek healthcare for, and release local feral cats, advocates for the wellness and sustained life of area cats with profound dedication.

She has devoted effort to this initiative since the 1980’s, but has been helping cats all her life. She was first inspired to work with feral cats when she lived on the island of Hawaii. Leaf worked to find mistreated animals and help restore them to health and safety.

She recently began a similar project in the Lake Chelan Valley; the CVFCP  has been a coordinated effort since April. The program seeks to locate, humanely trap, provide healthcare, and release feral cats back to their established colonies and neighborhoods. In tandem with area volunteers, the Wenatchee Humane Society, Okanogan Animal Rescue, and The Village Veterinarian in Chelan, the effort has served over 60 cats, with more to serve with every passing week.

Barbara L. Fehr, DVM of The Village Veterinarian in Chelan, primarily meets the cats’ health needs. A devoted care provider for area animals, Barbara provides various health services to these cats as needed before their release. The care extends from spay/neuter services to providing shots, deworming, demitting, teeth extraction, and uterus removal–often whatever it is that each cat needs to be successful in their reintegration into the valley. Leaf asserts, “Without her extremely generous support, we couldn’t do this.”

Currently, Leaf and area volunteers are working to humanely trap roughly 40 cats near the Lake Chelan Airport in the Apple Acres area, a large population of animals needing primary care. This effort will cost nearly $8,000, but with the generous donations of area residents, only $600-$1,000 is currently needed to support this project. Although the program exists primarily due to private donations, Leaf provides food and litter for all cats gathered with the Feral Cat Program. Community members may contribute to the CVFCP by donating directly to The Village Veterinarian or to Leaf at the Chelan Farmer’s Market.

Moving forward, Leaf hopes to begin aiding in rehoming cats and is currently caring for eight cats. It is the intention of  CVFCP to become a formal not-for-profit organization.

Katie Lindert: 509-731-3211 or katie@ward.media

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