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Broadford cat haven in need of help

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

By Max Davies

An animal shelter near Broadford currently has a large number of cats in its care and is in need of community support through donations and adoptions.

Ingrid’s Haven, run by founder Ingrid Arving and small team of volunteers, is a no-kill cat shelter in Sunday Creek that aims to rescue and re-home as many cats as possible, doing so by ensuring every cat is in good health before going home with a new family.

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Ms Arving said the shelter began about 30 years ago as a service for all animals in the Mitchell Shire area and was the first shelter of its kind in Victoria.

“I had no idea animals were killed at the pound after a certain amount of time so I thought I had to do something,” she said.

“I don’t think anyone had heard of a no-kill shelter when I started. I don’t think there’s any reason to kill a cat when they can be rehomed, I’ve had some cats here for 10 years.”

Ingrid’s Haven often takes in cats and kittens that have been neglected, rejected or dumped and helps them to recover before they are adopted. They also organise medical procedures like surgeries and desexing.

But after an influx of cats over the past few months, Ms Arving said the shelter needed donations of cat supplies including food, bedding and toys, as well as new volunteers and adoptions to help handle the increase.

“Volunteers are the backbone of animal recovery, and we need quality food, volunteers and adoptions,” she said.

Ms Arving said one of the main struggles for the shelter was the number of cats being rescued and cared for, including those from unregulated backyard breeders who often neglected the health and wellbeing of their animals.

“Right now we’re in the middle of kitten season so it’s a bit of a struggle. We’ve also got cats that were adopted during COVID coming back, which makes it tough,” she said.

“One of the biggest problems is backyard breeders, they don’t care about the animals or their health so we then have to take them in and care for them before they can go out and be adopted by people who want them.”

Kilmore resident and friend of the shelter Olanda Fabiano adopted a cat from Ingrid’s Haven late last year and said it was difficult to avoid connecting with an animal when visiting.

“It was completely unintended, when we went to the shelter it was very overwhelming because there are so many beautiful animals there, lined up at their gates begging for attention,” she said.

“When we brought food to donate, we fell in love with this little kitten, … we connected and we were able to hold him and he snuggled up straight away, which is something you don’t really expect with cats.”

Ms Fabiano said the cat they adopted, Gideon, was likely dumped before being rescued by the shelter and nursed back to health.

She said the shelter took every step to make sure the adoption process was as easy as possible, also providing a care package with cat supplies including a litter box for first-time cat owners.

“Just seeing how much work they do and seeing the overflow of animals, they’re packed. I said, ‘you know what, I’m sure I can make room in my life and figure it out’,” she said.

“Normally you hesitate because you don’t know if [the cat is] desexed or if it’s sick or if there’s something wrong, but [Gideon] came perfectly wrapped up with a little package full of toys and food. They were just so rapt that we were going to adopt him.

“The rest is a whole lot of tales of mischief and mayhem and adjusting to a very lively creature, and he’s definitely more of a character cat who’s very adventurous. He’s been an absolute joy.”

Ms Fabiano is also in the process of adopting a second cat through the shelter, however he has required more intensive medical attention as a result of previous injuries.

Ingrid’s Haven is open from 11am to 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays or by appointment and is located on Broadford-Wandong Road at Sunday Creek.

For more information, or to donate supplies, adopt a cat, or volunteer, people can visit ingridshaven.net.au or call Ms Arving on 0417 360 700.

Ms Fabiano will soon be adopting a second cat through the shelter, however he has had to undergo multiple surgeries due to previous injuries. ​

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