Our work with cats is centred on the SPA Refuge in Tarbes although we also respond to requests from other refuges and associations and from individuals who need help.
Financial support for the refuge
We contribute 6000€ a year to the Tarbes Refuge towards the sterilisation and chipping of the cats in their care and also pay many vet bills for those who are sick or injured. We have also made a substantial financial contribution towards the completion of their new building projects and renovations which will greatly improve accommodation and facilities for the cats.
Every year many kittens are dumped at the refuge or found abandoned and brought in by members of the public. Some of these are very tiny and need bottle feeding and others are just weak or undernourished and so our team of fosterers care for these babies at home until they are old enough and strong enough for adoption. We also receive requests to provide foster care for adult cats who are sick or injured, or just not coping with refuge life, and for lifetime foster placements for elderly cats who often arrive at the refuge after the death of their owner. We always do our best to help but we very much need more fosterers who are willing to take a cat or kittens for a short period, or who could give a bereaved older cat a home for life – always with the reassurance of vet bills being taken care of by Les Amis.
Most cats and kittens which have been in foster with Les Amis are promoted through Facebook and find their new families that way though occasionally they may return to the Refuge for rehoming. We also use Facebook to promote the cats in the Refuge itself to reach more potential adopters.
We have initiated a programme to re-home some of the semi-feral cats in the Refuge as barn cats. The cats are all sterilised and are offered for no fee to people who are prepared to offer them basic food and shelter in exchange for dedicated help with controlling the rodent population.
Socialising and cat cuddling
Our volunteers regularly visit the refuge to spend time with the cats. The friendlier ones make the most of lap time while patience – and treats! – can persuade the shyer ones that being stroked and petted is really quite enjoyable. Helping the cats to be comfortable with people makes their time in the refuge less stressful and increases their chances of being adopted.
Improving life for the refuge cats
Much of the construction work on the new areas in the refuge, including the catteries, has been undertaken by volunteers including some of our supporters. Their efforts are very much appreciated by the Refuge management, and of course by the animals themselves.
Great ingenuity has been shown by other volunteers to make life more comfortable for the cats: by the end of the summer every kitten in the Refuge had its own hammock and discarded garden umbrellas were providing shade. During the winter, colourful hand-crocheted blankets were converted into “teepees” to make each cat bed cosier and more private.
HOW CAN I HELP?
We would be very pleased to hear from you if you could:
- Foster a cat or kittens for a few weeks
- Provide lifetime foster care for an older cat
- Adopt a cat from foster or from the Refuge
- Take a barn cat or two for rodent control
- Visit the Refuge in Tarbes to help socialise the cats
- Volunteer to help with the various building projects at the Refuge