Gallows Bay's cats need help
Published: August 26, 2013
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ST. CROIX - The Kitten Gang of Gallows Bay could use some looking after.
And Charlotte Hulsman is seeking volunteers who are willing to help out.
After 16 years of feeding and providing what medical care she could to two feral cat colonies in Gallows Bay, Hulsman is now planning to leave the island, she said. Her husband lost his job in the HOVENSA closure and had to leave to find work, she said. She plans to join him soon in San Antonio.
But first, she said, she needs to find someone - preferably at least seven people - who will take care of those cats.
"I need some help. I don't want to leave until I make sure they're going to be OK, they're going to be fed," she said. "But I have to leave. I can't keep staying here. My husband knows I have to take care of them before I leave. I don't want to leave them stranded."
Hulsman, who used to work at The Travel Desk in Gallows Bay, first started feeding the cats about 16 years ago, when a starving, older white cat she saw while she was walking to the post office caught her eye.
"I felt bad for it. I bought some canned food," she said. "Then another one came and another one came."
She feels the same way about people - can't bear to think about anyone or anything going hungry, she said.
The cats are strays and are not hers.
"Unfortunately, people drop their cats there," she said. "These aren't the original kitties I started with."
She estimates there are approximately 10 cats in each of the two groups.
"They know my car, they all come running," she said.
As she is able to, Hulsman has trapped some of them and had them spayed or neutered, she said. Likewise, she treats them if an obvious medical condition arises.
Helping out involves buying some dry cat food and just a little time.
Hulsman said she would like to get at least seven volunteers lined up who are willing to feed the animals once a week, so she can feel comfortable about leaving.
In that effort, she created posters featuring pictures of cute, tiny little kittens and the words "Volunteers needed: to care for the Gallows Bay Kitten Gang 1 day/week."
"You can't just start feeding them and then stop. It's an obligation," she said. "I love these animals. To me, it wasn't a hardship."
Hulsman has received a few inquiries and hopes to set up a meeting soon for people who are interested.
It takes about 20 minutes to feed the two groups, she said. The large bags of dry cat food she uses cost about $17 and last a good while, she said.
"I get a lot of pleasure seeing them as I pull in," she said. "They're free, they can come and go as they please. I know they're getting fed well. I try to keep them healthy."
Anyone interested in helping out can call Hulsman at 513-1422.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.