Sheridan Vet Tech student gives 80+ cats new homes and new lives
On an icy winter morning, Sheridan Veterinary Technician student Cailey Seymour arrives at her destination in downtown Haliburton after a four-hour journey. She’s there to collect a special load - a pregnant, feral cat named Harmony in need of medical attention.
Since starting her cat rescue project – Dorset Rescue Kittens – Seymour has rescued over 80 felines. She’s received dozens of calls from Dorset, Haliburton, Minden, Kinmount and Guelph about cats living in the streets or scavenging for food in people’s backyards.
"I'm passionate about animals," Seymour says. "I want to do whatever I can to help them or at least find others who can."
The idea for the project came to Seymour during her first year at Sheridan, while she was a volunteer at the Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary in Minden.
“I would get a call almost every day about people spotting feral kittens,” she says. “We couldn't take them at the wildlife sanctuary, but I knew that I could help personally."
Seymour’s trip to Haliburton is part of a day’s work for the animal advocate. Arriving back in Guelph, she drives Harmony straight to her new foster home, where she gives birth to four kittens. "Pregnant feral cats are vulnerable, especially in the winter," Seymour explains. "I'm happy that we found her just in time.”
This wasn’t Seymour’s first time rescuing neonatal kittens. She’s provided care for dozens of them in the past, even those that are orphaned.
"I received the necessary training from Sheridan to administer fluids and provide animals with essential medication," she says. “It takes a lot of work, but I love watching them get stronger each day.”
"I spend a lot of time working on the project, but I love every minute of it. From nursing the cats back to health to finding them a new home, it’s all exciting work for me.” - Cailey Seymour
After dropping off Harmony and the kittens at their new home, Seymour hops on her laptop and catches up on some schoolwork, keeping a close eye on her project’s Facebook group for any reports or adoption requests. She says that there’s people out there who are willing to provide care for the vulnerable cats, Dorset Rescue Kittens is just one way to connect them with the animals.
“What surprises me the most about the project is that amount of support I get from people,” she explains. “I even had one of my pathology lab teaching assistants from Sheridan, Nihkee Hamill, donate food that was returned to clinics and could not be resold. This included some much-needed specialty diets for the cats which can only be purchased at vet clinics and can be very expensive.”
Seymour has been employed by the Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary as a summer student. She plans to graduate from her Veterinary Technician program at Sheridan this year and continue running her cat rescue project.
“I spend a lot of time working on the project, but I love every minute of it,” she said. “From nursing the cats back to health to finding them a new home, it’s all exciting work for me.”
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