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HOMETOWN HERO: Feral, abandoned cat rescuer Dee Dunphy

Quesnel woman continuing to help forgotten felines
Dee Dunphy with her feral rescue Max. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)

Sitting in front of a large kennel containing a group of kittens, Dee Dunphy spoke gently and tried to coax them out of their shyness and fear for a gentle pet. Some hissed, but Dunphy didn’t mind. She has been rescuing feral and stray cats since 2017 with a small group of like-minded others.

The group of kittens came from a feral colony in McLeese Lake.

“I’ve always loved cats,” Dunphy said from her home in Quesnel. “Just their personality, just the way they are, and then when I started doing this, I always say I’m going to take a break, and I get down to a few, and somebody phones and needs help.”

Dunphy has ten cats of her own, including her beloved Max, who was once a feral.

She discovered an initiative called TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) after coming across a colony of feral cats while working in the Two Mile Flat area in 2015 and wondering what she could do to help.

At least once a week, she still heads down to the area to check on one of the original ferals, Mickey, for whom she has installed a feeding and water station.

Most feral colonies started with cats or kittens that were abandoned or dumped by their owners.

“It’s sad that people resort to that,” Dunphy said. “I still don’t know why, and I’ll probably never know why they do it.”

In 2020, Dunphy and her cat capers rescued feral cats living dangerously among the trash and debris at the Quesnel landfill located a short distance from the Quesnel SPCA.

Last year they trapped 42 cats and kittens from a large feral colony on Dale Lake Road.

Dunphy works hard on taming them and finding them comfortable barn homes and receives assistance from the Victoria Humane Society when it comes to adoption.

“They’re shy, but they’re lovable,” she said, calling feral cats the forgotten ones.

Lil Red Pony Food and Supplies is currently accepting cash donations to support Dunphy and her group of feral and stray rescuers with supplies.

Dunphy earlier sold some heart-shaped cat decals printed by Quesnel Sign Stop with the words ‘their lives matter.’

“Any little bit helps,” she said, adding that many have assisted by leaving bags of returnable beverage containers on her porch.

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