Local animal lover Meisje Laboyrie is helping tackle Raglan’s long-standing problem of stray cats.

Meisje gathered donated goods from friends and businesses around Raglan that she put into a couple of hampers to raffle off, raising about $500 for the Raglan Vetinerary Clinic’s Stray Cat and Wildlife Fund.

Her aim is to help families who are struggling with the cost of de-sexing their cats, but who are contributing to the stray cat and unwanted kitten problem in the meantime.

“There’s always so many cats at the [Raglan] vets that have been dumped,” explains Meisje, who has two cats from a litter of five kittens that were dumped in a rubbish bin at Te Kopua Domain around New Year. “I think it’s disgusting.”

She has fundraised several times for the stray cat fund, as she knows how much unpaid, unacknowledged work the clinic does in the community with abandoned animals.
“I do it for the kids. I’m trying to bring my kids up to have compassion for animals,” Meisje says.

Raglan Vet head nurse Donna Rickard is well acquainted with the problem of cats that have not been desexed, having been the face of the local Cat Protection League for many years.

She has little patience for many New Zealanders’ view that it is their “god given right” to own a pet.
“A pet is a luxury and if you can’t afford it, then don’t get one,” she says quite simply.

Raglan’s large transient population was part of the problem. In many stray cat cases, people got a kitten at Christmas, then moved somewhere where they were not allowed pets and just left their pet behind.

Last year the Raglan Vet rehomed 150 stray cats and kittens, six dogs and three rabbits, sometimes catching the animals themselves.
The clinic, which is under the Anexa umbrella, provides cats for rehoming at the subsidised cost of $110 for female cats and $85 for male cats. These cats are de-sexed, vaccinated, micro-chipped, de-wormed and treated for fleas.

Donna suggests new pet owners put money into an account at the vet when they first get a pet, so they plan ahead for these normal costs associated with owning a pet.
The more cats that are de-sexed, the less stray cats and unwanted kittens there would be, she says.
The money Meisje raised has gone into a fund that will provide for a number of free de-sexing operations.

The clinic continues to help abandoned animals, with staff often volunteering their time and the clinic covering the cost of boarding stray animals and many surgeries along the way.
But Donna stresses that the clinic is not the SPCA.

“People forget that we are a business and we are paying staff and we need to be seen to be making a profit,” Donna says.
“We have a lot of people who know about the work we do and come and donate all the time.”

Rachel Benn