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Million-dollar kitty

Saturday, 9th January, 2021

Ten-day-old orphan Storm Boy has proven he is one in a million, after surviving the hailstorm last week, outliving all of the other kittens in the litter. PICTURE: Annette Northey Ten-day-old orphan Storm Boy has proven he is one in a million, after surviving the hailstorm last week, outliving all of the other kittens in the litter. PICTURE: Annette Northey

By Annette Northey

A ten-day-old kitten, the only one of its litter to survive the hail storm on January 2, has been surrendered to 4-Paw Kitty Galore - a local refuge for stray cats - and will be looking for his forever home in about 11 weeks’ time.

Christine Grenfell, who operates the refuge with her husband, Ray, said the kitten was dropped off to their house yesterday, without the mother, and will have to be fed formula by bottle.

“It’s only ten days old, so it was born just before the storm and the other kittens didn’t survive,” Christine said.

‘Storm Boy’ is now one of 60 cats that Christine and Ray are looking after temporarily, in the hope they can rehome them all eventually.

The couple opened their doors to the community late last year in an attempt to alleviate the problem of stray cats in the city.

 They soon found themselves with about 40 cats and kittens to look after, and that number has now swelled to 60. They have in the meantime rehomed about 20 or 30 cats, Christine said.

Christine and Ray pay for all the supplies needed to take care of the felines, including food, bedding, litter, bowls, etc., and they even pay for them to be immunised, desexed and microchipped.

“Not one cat leaves the premises without having been immunised or desexed,” Christine said.

Christine and Ray are compassionate people, treating each animal with gentle kindness as if it were their own.

The cats roam around freely in the designated area Christine and Ray created for them by enclosing a large verandah on the front of their home. They have obstacles to climb and play on and a small garden area with natural soil and plants to fossick in. The cats are only put into a (large) cage if showing signs of illness, and only until it is safe to mingle with the others.

Amongst the menagerie of felines currently awaiting their forever homes are a sweet, friendly black and white mother, less than 12 months old herself, with three 4-5-week-old kittens; and beautiful Ebony, a young sleek, black cat with two black kittens.

Christine said Ebony is a wonderful mother, nurturing her kitties while at death’s door, surviving on toilet water alone.

The cost of looking after the animals is exorbitant, especially with the immunising and desexing, but Christine and Ray said they wanted to thank the community for reaching out with donations of food and supplies after the Barrier Truth published the initial article just before Christmas.

Many locals dropped off items to the house and Coles put a large donation box at the front of the supermarket for donations of food, etc.

“We didn’t think we’d get any donations, especially being Christmas time, because most people usually don’t have the money to spare around that time, but people have been so generous,” Ray said.

“At the end of the first day we collected 12 shopping bags full of supplies from the donation box.

“Now we go every second day to check and we bring home at least four bags full.

“We are so grateful to everybody,” Christine said.

“But if there is anyone out there who would like to sponsor us in any way at all, we would really appreciate it.”

You can call Christine on 0400 017 852.

The Barrier Truth would like to clarify that Ray is not retired, as previously and incorrectly reported earlier.

He is still running his own business Ray Grenfell Gas Fitting.

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