Friends of Forsaken Animals: Rescuing Cats
Story and photo by Dana Kenedy
Sonia Trettin is no crazy cat lady. She is the founder of Friends of Forsaken Animals, a cat rescue organization catering to the Uxbridge, Blackstock, Brampton and Orillia areas.
Trettin’s need to care for animals started when she was a little girl during the Second World War. Forced to leave her home in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1940, Trettin and her family fled to the mountains while bombs dropped on her city.
After returning a few years later, large bomb craters filled with rainwater were scattered throughout the city.
“It was common practice to throw kittens in there,” Trettin said. She would do her best to fish out as many kittens as she could and care for them. Even though there was barely enough food for people, she still gave some of her bread to the cats wandering the city.
Moving forward a degree in physics and two patents in silicon solar cells later, Trettin was living in Scarborough as a high school teacher in 1996.
There she stumbled upon Benny, a friendly stray cat, and handed him over to a local cat rescue. She later learned Benny escaped from the rescue centre and devoted eight weeks to searching for him. Thankfully her hard work paid off and she found him. He lived for 18 years, Trettin recalls.
“In the process I noticed how many homeless animals exist,” Trettin said. She also met other ladies who dedicated their time to feeding the stray cats in the area.
Trettin too fed the cats, but took it one step further and began taking them in for spaying and neutering and did her best to find them homes.
Friends Of Forsaken Animals was born.
After her retirement in 1998, she moved the organization to the Uxbridge area with her shelter based in her property in Brock.
“I don’t have a personal life,” she laughs. She and her husband maintain the two heated school portables on her property and care for the older cats that stay in their home.
Nicola Ransom-Brown, a volunteer of several animal organizations who moved to Uxbridge from England, heard about Friends Of Forsaken Animals two years ago and just had to get involved. The organization thrives because of Trettin, she says.
“I think she’s amazing. She’s a very hard working lady,” Ransom-Brown says. “She’s tireless.”
If you are looking for a new, furry companion, the organization hosts regular adopt-a-thons at Uxbridge’s Pet Valu, 4 Banff Rd., each lasting about a week during the store’s regular hours. However, you can give a friendly feline a new home any time of the year, as well as taking part in a month-long fostering program.
The next adopt-a-thon will be from Jan. 21-29, 2012.
To volunteer, to adopt one of their many cats or kittens, or for more information call 905 852 4286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Helping animals is the starting point to helping society,” Trettin says.