Helping Manitoulin Island felines has become a deep passion for Kathy Jewell

Kathy Jewell

MINDEMOYA—When Manitoulin Pet Rescue was formed in 2015, Kathy Jewell volunteered to look after the many Island cats needing homes. To date, she has rescued 130 felines and she gets them from everywhere. If Manitoulin Pets Reunited can’t find the owners of different cats, they go to Ms. Jewell—cats that have been abandoned, oftentimes with their babies, cats that have been surrendered, and kittens whose mother has been hurt or killed. And, as always, cats that have been dropped off at Island farms.

Ms. Jewell also takes in cats from people who have way too many or, like the 12-year-old she received lately, whose owner died. “I get cats for any and every reason,” she said, “and my biggest problem is finding enough fosters. We have five main fosters and we have had a couple of students who fostered for their community hours. It takes a bit longer to find homes for cats. We don’t have a shelter so we need to have fosters.”

And the growth of cats can be astronomical. Exponentially, it is figured that two cats, who will mate with any other cat including siblings, can produce 1,000 cats in 4.5 years. Granted, some kittens will die at birth and older cats will get sick, but still, it means a huge population.

Animal organizations and veterinarians constantly try to educate cat owners on how important it is to spay or neuter their pets. And, as Ms. Jewell explained, there is some help available for low income owners. There is the Central Manitoulin Animal Welfare Fund for aid and Island Animal Hospital has a stray animal fund. In 2002, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association started the Farley Foundation. This organization aids seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement, disabled individuals receiving the Ontario Disability Support Payment or CPP Disability, Ontario Works recipients, pets owned by senior care facilities and women at risk of abuse.

Ms. Jewell is the owner of Kat’s Pet Supplies in Mindemoya where one can find all manner of items for cats, dogs and fish from food to toys to leashes to beds. She most often has a cat that is slated for adoption in the store and two or three days a year she has adoption days when all the cats available are brought to the store. “I always have a cat in the store,” Ms. Jewell said. “Always, always, always. What people don’t realize is that it is all volunteer.”

Manitoulin Pet Rescue has two fundraisers in the works for needed monies. The sale of Vesey’s bulbs, plant and seeds is ongoing and has been extended until the end of April. Ms. Jewell has catalogues for this at her store. There will also be a photo shoot fundraiser on May 26 at the gazebo in Mindemoya. Photographer Tracey Cooper will be on hand to take photos of everyone’s pets.

In talking about cats and her store, Ms. Jewell finds it very ironic that years ago she thought that the building she is in would make a great shelter for animals with the rental of the apartment upstairs being used to raise needed funds. Unfortunately, the undertaking proved to be way too costly, but now, here she is in the same building looking after a lot of cats.

While Ms. Jewell is busy looking after the store and cats, her husband Keith is looking after his body shop in Gore Bay. The Jewells live in Mindemoya. With three cats.