Saving Benjamin - Dakin's Kitten Street Team
by Danielle Cookish
Benjamin, a large, orange tomcat relaxes in the grass. He’s not a housecat or a pet, rather his preference is to live outdoors. He’s one of 21 cats living together in a colony.
Though they live outside and spend their time roaming their territory, they are fed and looked after by a couple in the neighborhood. As Benjamin soaks in the sun, he stares at Anna, a Kitten Street Team volunteer. He doesn’t take his eyes off her. He’s the last in the colony to be trapped and neutered by the team and he’s been eluding them for over three months.
The Kitten Street Team is one of Dakin’s newest programs, launched in 2020. This volunteer-run program operates with the goals of saving cats’ lives and teaching people how to help community cats and feral kittens in their neighborhoods.
The caregivers of Benjamin’s colony provide food to him and the other cats. They are doing the best they can, but without any intervention, the colony will continue growing and kittens will be born outside, falling prey to disease, predators, extreme weather, and so many other dangers.
There’s a huge opportunity to prevent this needless suffering and it can only be achieved with your help. Your support will enable Anna and the rest of our Kitten Street Team to continue and expand their work—interacting directly with community cat colonies and their caregivers.
Benjamin is the last of this group—if he has his way, he’s not going to be caught. He knows something’s up and each time Anna gets out of her car, Benjamin immediately runs away. The typical means of trapping cats will not work on Benjamin. The volunteers must be creative and find another way. Anna devises a plan, building a different trap system and luring Benjamin in with flavorful cat food. With a little patience, her plan works. The last in a colony of 21 cats—including some very sick kittens—is trapped!
All the adults are spayed/neutered at our Community Spay/Neuter Clinic and given vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease. After, the adults are returned to their colony, under the watchful eyes of their caregivers. And the sick kittens are tended to by our medical team. Once they are healthy, they will be available for adoption. All the cats’ lives are changed for the better, but especially the kittens. Their futures look bright—full of comfortable beds, toys and full bellies.
Your generosity allows us to reach further into our communities and offer this program free of charge to towns and cities for the cats and kittens who need us. The work of the Kitten Street team will be more important than ever as we enter the spring months. As the weather starts to warm, more kittens will be born outside. We’re excited to continue this program and with your support, the Kitten Street Team will continue this crucial work.