What We Do
Helping Homeless Cats is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to rescuing stray domestic and feral cats in the Greater Victoria area. When we have room and resources we take so-called unadoptable cats, such as older senior cats or those with behavioural or medical issues who are not good candidates for the shelters. We network with other rescue groups to share expenses when it benefits cats in need. We ensure the sterilization and medical treatment of all rescued cats upon intake. If a cat is suffering and has an untreatable condition, then we will have the cat humanely euthanized - but only when all possibility of treatment and recovery is gone. Our priority is to rescue and care for senior cats with medical issues, such as kidney disease, whenever resources and available homes makes it possible.
We are a small group and focus our resources on finding the best homes for rescued kitties. Our group seeks good homes with responsible and stable people over 30 and we especially like to find homes with seniors. Our rescue is run by seniors and we find that retired seniors, especially those living independently but with some restricted mobility, provide the most ideal homes as they can spend a great deal of time with the cats. We have no age limit for adopters or fosters and have several great foster parents now who are in their 80's and 90's. For a cat lover, having a cat companion can greatly enhance their well-being and longevity.
We support a unique Long Term Senior and Special Needs Foster Program where we place cats in homes where the cats are not up for adoption to others. The cats stay in these homes as long as possible until there is a change that requires the cat to come back to us (for instance, such as if the foster parent goes into a nursing home or the cat’s health declines and needs a new foster home that can provide high needs care such as perhaps insulin shots). We provide food and vet care for these cats. Our senior foster parents are 50 to 100. Our high needs homes are usually in their 40's and 50's with a lot of cat care experience.
We also have standard adoptive and foster homes. We do not usually have young healthy cats as those can go to the CRD Pound or Victoria Animal Control and get adoptive homes. When we do have adoptable cats we do screening, a home visit, and require a minimum $100 donation.
Abandoned Domestic Cats
Sadly, we hear constantly of domestic cats left to fend for themselves, particularly when someone moves to a rental that doesn’t allow pets and leaves their cat behind at the old place. Neighbours find themselves with the responsibility of feeding and caring for these abandoned kitties and often building management complains about this and stops them. These cats should be taken to the CRD Pound or Victoria Animal Control if found in the areas they cover. There is a problem whereby areas such as Saanich have bylaws that prohibit strays from being take to the Pound. Small rescues must try to cover the bases because of this unfortunate situation.
Also, among feral communities we sometimes find domestic cats living on their own after being abandoned. Many of these strays, particularly older ones, are starving or in need of immediate medical attention. If they are cats the shelters cannot take, we take them (when resources allow) to a veterinarian for a check-up, shots, flea treatment, deworming, and - most of all -medical care. We maintain these domestic cats in nurturing foster homes until they are either adopted into responsible permanent homes or placed in our Long Term Senior Foster Program. If a cat has medical or behavioural issues preventing it from getting adopted, then it is placed into a long-term foster home where the cat's needs can be met. If needed, the rescue will help with things such as administering subcutaneous fluids. We also provide all vet care for any type of fosters.Owner surrenders are referred to the SPCA. However, in cases where a shelter setting would not be ideal for cats who have difficulties around other cats and would not come across as "adoptable" there, then we can consider taking an owner surrender with a donation. Our funds are used for our rescued kitties and we must have a donation to cover all intake expenses (vet exam is always required and sometimes blood tests and further care such as dental work).
We trap feral cats and take them to a vet for spay/neuter, physical exam, shots, flea treatment, deworming and any needed medical care. They are then released where first found with an established food source. When needed, we assist with lifelong food, water, shelter, and medical care for these cats. If they cannot be returned to their location of origin, we maintain them in appropriate foster homes until proper placement is available. We attempt to socialize and re-home feral kittens and find and spay the feral mother.
Currently we have volunteers feeding and monitoring a few feral feeding stations. However, we do not have enough resources to do feeding and trapping at any new sites.
Fostering is an excellent way for cat lovers to have a cat even when they are unable to afford the cost of a pet or make a long term commitment. It is a wonderful way for the cat to get lots of love and attention until we find a permanent home. Also, it is a good way to help with cat rescue or to get to know a cat before permanent adoption.
For our foster homes we provide food and supplies delivered by volunteers. (Some foster parents donate the food and supplies which helps.) We provide any needed veterinary care for foster cats and take the cats back to the rescue for prescribed follow-up care. If the foster parent or family goes on vacation or for any reason cannot keep their foster cats for certain time periods, we temporarily take the cat back or find a new foster home. At any time the family or individual can no longer foster, the cat’s health changes, or the rescue deems the foster home no longer appropriate for the cat – the cat will come back to the rescue.
Please see our Forms and Agreements section for detailed information on adoption, an Adoption Application Form, and an Adoption Agreement. Also feel free to email Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
We seek INDOORS-ONLY homes with no access to the outside and require sturdy screens on all windows. Catios or completely enclosed screened sunrooms are ideal for a "taste of the outdoors", although we know it is not always possible to have these.We request a donation of at least $100 at the time of adoption. All cats have been examined, spayed/neutered, received shots, and have had all vet care needed. We tell the adopters everything known about the current condition. Within the first two weeks after adoption if an adopter feels the cat requires vet care the cat can be seen at our vet, Saanichton Village Veterinary Hospital, where the rescue will pay for an exam and assessment. If the cat shows a change in condition requiring treatment then the rescue will take the cat back for treatment. (The donation can be returned if requested). If the adopter still prefers to keep the cat, then the cat may be returned to them after treatment. If they prefer to keep the cat during treatment, then it will be the adopter's financial responsibility as we cannot monitor the care. Since the cat is thoroughly examined before adoption, these steps are rarely necessary.We require that an adopter have long-term stable employment and be financially able to provide vet care of at least $2000 if a medical issue should arise at some point in the cat’s life and that they be able to afford good quality food. If the cost of food and possible vet care is a concern, we offer fostering (including Long Term Fostering when the person or chosen cat qualifies) rather than adoption. Adoption means permanent responsibility for care of a cat, although HHC will always take the cat back if for any reason it becomes impossible for the adopter to keep the cat. We screen adopters to be sure the people and other pets in the home are compatible with the rescue cat. We follow up to be sure the adoption has worked out favorably for the family and the cat.Reminder: All domestic cats on our website are indoors only.
Long Term Senior and Special Needs Foster Program
We place domestic cats in long-term foster homes with cat-loving seniors or disabled persons able to feed a cat, care for a litter box, keep the cat indoors only, and recognize symptoms of illness. Sometimes special needs (so-called “unadoptable”) cats are placed in this program with adults who are not seniors or disabled but who can care for a cat with medical issues. This includes being able to administer subcutaneous fluids and give pills or insulin shots.Volunteers assist with this very rewarding program by delivering supplies and helping the foster parents with cat care such as nail-cutting. This program provides much-needed companionship for both the foster people and for the cat. Many older seniors who love cats and are quite capable of caring for one do not adopt as they either can’t afford food and potential vet care or feel the cat may outlive them. Our program solves both of these problems. Placement of a congenial and affectionate cat in a senior foster home greatly enhances the lives of both the cat and the senior!
A “food sponsor” donates $30 a month to cover food and litter for one specific cat. A full sponsor donates $50 a month to cover all usual expenses for one specific cat. A sponsor may also choose to contribute toward medical expenses for a special needs cat when possible. Sponsors will receive update reports and photos of the cat they are sponsoring. See the Donations section for how to set up a monthly donation (online by credit card or by mailing cheques). A sponsor may wish to visit the cat.
Meeting the Cats
We do not have a shelter. The cats are in foster homes awaiting fostering or adoption. Cats ready for adoption are shown on our website. To meet our cats please contact us.