‘Cat Man’ devastated after bakkie gets stolen

2014-07-16 00:00

DOUG “The Cat Man” Thorpe-Fairall is on the prowl. But this time it is not only looking for stray cats to rescue — he is also hoping to spot the thief who drove off in the Nissan bakkie used in the rescue operations.

The Feral Cats Rescue Trust (FCRT) suffered a huge blow on Saturday when Thorpe-Fairall’s cat mobile was stolen, coincidentally while he was repairing traps at a factory in Mayville. Feral cats that run wild are often abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

Thorpe-Fairall is one of the volunteers at FCRT, where he is a 24-hour cat capturer. Now he is somewhat stuck — using a car instead of the bakkie has proven a bit difficult as he cannot fit enough cages in there. So between the feral cats’ scratching and biting — they don’t go down without a fight — the volunteers now also have to manage without their only net and catch-pole, which was in the stolen bakkie.

Thorpe-Fairall said in the meantime he could not continue to do any further rescue work. “Your bakkie becomes part of your life … so I am devastated.

“I walked out of the factory after working inside for about an hour. I asked my friend where the car was, and he said I must be joking! We had to laugh, we could not believe that is was actually stolen!”

The bakkie is about 14 years old.

FCRT is run by a small group of volunteers passionate about giving feral cats a better quality of life on the streets. Their primary concern is sterilisation, but they also feed many colonies and rescue sick and injured cats.

The group first got together in 1997 and established a trust two years ago. Thorpe-Fairall, who’s sterilised over 4 000 cats, added that their work can be simplified to in three words: “Trap, spay and release.”

He first started working with cats in 1991 when he was feeding cats at a factory he worked at. “I thought I was over- feeding one cat, then she brought five kittens to us and I took them home. A few months down the line there were more.”

FCRT offers a free service. “I know what it’s like to panic and not have help from anyone when you love these animals and don’t what them put down.”

The police are investigating.

• If you need help with feral cats, call 0 074 187 2140.

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