Matabeleland Animal Rescue & Equine Sanctuary (MARES) completed their AKI grant project, Bulawayo Matabeleland Cat Sterilization Campaign, with a total of 103 kitties sterilized, vaccinated, given a notched ear, and sent home.
MARES kicked off their TNVNR project on Sept 15, 2023 in a private garden just behind the United Bulawayo Government Hospital, where ~100 feral cats have been residing and breeding. Seventeen cats were sterilized in September.
In October, MARES trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, notched, and released a total of 44 cats. Even though kitten season hadn't officially begun (tell the cats that!), 15 of the 17 female cats were already pregnant. Through timely TNVNR, MARES prevented the birth of 60 homeless kittens!
During October, MARES was called for urgent help. Some children were stoning the feral cats in MARES project area. On arrival, the MARES team was so sad to see the kids had already stoned a female mommy cat to death and were stoning her 3 ginger kittens. MARES managed to save the 3 kittens and then returned during the next 2 days to explain to the children that what they did was wrong and how important cats are for keeping rodents and snakes under control.
The kids told the MARES team that they were doing what their parents told them to do: stone the cats because the noise the cats made when mating sounded like a human being was being murdered! MARES explained that by sterilizing the cats, they would no longer be able to breed and wouldn't make that noise. And a healthy community of neutered stray cats would keep other unsterilized cats from entering the area, further preventing the unwanted noise.
By the end of November, MARES completed their grant project with a total of 103 cats TNVNR'd from Sept 15 through November.
In November, MARES reported that they had diverted their attention to the township in Bulawayo where they had rescued the 3 kittens whose mama was stoned to death. MARES spent 5 more days there trapping the cats and kittens while talking to the local people about the benefits of a sterilized and vaccinated cat community and about animal welfare in general.
MARES was happy to report that when they were 8 weeks old, the 3 ginger kittens, whose mama was killed, were adopted: the 2 little male gingers were adopted together and the female kitten was adopted by another family.
Also in November, MARES trapped 2 mama cats, both with very young kittens in very poor condition-with mange and severely underweight. Once ready, the 2 mama cats will be spayed, and when the kittens are healthy and old enough, MARES will find good homes for them.
The MARES grant project was so successful, was completed on time, with no negative issues, thanks to the MARES team, consisting of: Claudette Lyon, in charge of trapping the cats; MARES part time veterinarian, Dr. Liberty Moyo; MARES full time vet technician, Ms. Heather Gwisai; student vet nurse, Allison; and 3 MARES volunteers. They worked together as a close knit team to help 103 feral, unwanted kitties live much better lives back in the communities where they came from, as well as rescuing several kittens whose mamas are feral and giving the kittens a better life in loving homes.