Feral cat colony sparks urgent plea for help from island charity

The cats have all gathered at one property on the island and are growing in numbers.

Feral cat colony sparks urgent plea for help from Western Isles charity WISCK

A charity is seeking urgent help to manage a colony of cats including feral animals in the Western Isles.

Western Isles Support for Cats and Kittens (WISCK) has issued an appeal for help for what is being described as a “significant feline crisis” on the Isle of Barra.

The non-profit charity, the only surviving one on the island dedicated to trapping, neutering and releasing the animals, is dealing with a growing colony of 20 cats, most of which are feral.

The cats, congregating at a local residence, rely on human provision and a lack of natural prey on the island has escalated the need for intervention to prevent “uncontrollable growth” said the charity.

The cats, many used to human provision, have all gathered at a local residence on the island. Photo: WISCK.WISCK

Some of the animals have come from the barns of locals in the village who have passed away but residents are “struggling to cope” with the new arrivals.

Breeding season for feral cats is usually between April to September, which could see the number of animals triple by the winter.

Volunteers are looking to take the cats to be neutered at Cat Central in Stornoway before finding them suitable homes across the island.

A statement from the charity read: “The situation in Barra involves a colony of approximately 20 cats, potentially more, that have congregated at a local residence.

“The lack of natural prey and the cats’ reliance on human provision have escalated the need for intervention to prevent the colony from growing uncontrollably, posing a threat to the scarce local wildlife and the cats’ wellbeing.

The group of approximately 20 cats are proving a challenge to manage say volunteers. Photo: WISCK.WISCK

“WISCK is undertaking the monumental task of trapping the cats, transporting them to Cat Central in Stornoway for health checks, neutering, and ultimately finding them suitable barn or stable homes across the islands.

“This intervention is imperative for the welfare of both the cats and the island’s ecosystem, especially with kitten season looming.

“This effort highlights the importance of community and volunteer support in addressing animal welfare issues in the Western Isles.”

The charity is asking for donations to help with the health and survival of the cats and the scarce wildlife on Barra.

It wrote: “Any help no matter how small an amount will be invaluable to ensuring the health and survival of these cats and the scarce wildlife on Barra.

The charity are looking to transport the cats to a facility in Stornoway to be neutered. Photo: WISCK.WISCK

“Please share with friends and groups to help us get the word out as this is going to be another huge undertaking for us as a rescue.

“Thank you as always for your continued support, we really couldn’t do any of this without you all.

Donations can be made via Paypal’s ‘friends and family option’ using the email wisck2020@gmail.com.

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