By Tricia Mifsud
THE trauma of watching a cat being run over twice in Kilmore last week may well lead to a good news story, with rescuers now attempting to capture and relocate at least five cats who have made a home underneath the Kilmore Bakery.
Mother and daughter Chontel and Maree Stephenson watched as a cat was run over twice on Sydney Street last Tuesday, leaving the cat convulsing in Maree’s arms until its death.
The Stephensons wanted to do something to prevent something similar happening to any of the other cats living under the bakery.
“It’s about the care of the cats, and making sure they are properly being looked after, and the wildlife side of it as well, and making sure the cats don’t kill them either,” Chontel said.
“This is nothing against the bakery, as we know the staff have made sure all this time they are being fed, but the cats need to be desexed, vaccinated, cleaned of fleas, wormed and treated for any other diseases.”
Ratana Ush, from the Kilmore Bakery, said in her time at the bakery, many cats had come and gone from under the building, but the staff had always fed the cats and the bakery had also fenced off the veranda area to give them their own space.
Ms Ush said some customers previously told her if she had called council for the cats to be taken away, they would most likely be euthanised – something she wanted to avoid.
She said she was unsure of the right thing to do for the cats, with some customers loving having them around and others complaining about them.
“It’s hard because I feel like I hadn’t done enough to help the cats. We are a food premises, but I am also trying to help,” she said.
“Some of the customers complain and said things like ‘why are they so gross’, but the cats have done nothing wrong.
“But listening to Chontel and her experience with animals, now I understand that even though we tried to help … there’s more that can be done for the cats.”
The Stephensons met with Ms Ush on Wednesday to discuss their plans of placing cat traps, and to relocate the cats to families once treated, which Ms Ush was in favour of.
Chontel hopes relocating the cats can break the cycle of strays in the area, as well as educate people in the community about cat welfare and safety.
“Let’s do something about it so the cycle can stop,” she said.
The Stephensons were able to catch three kittens and have all since been desexed, microchipped, vaccinated, treated and rehomed.