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Feline rescue to host pawsta dinner and comedy show fundraiser

Local NewsFeline rescue to host pawsta dinner and comedy show fundraiser

Hearts to Home Feline Rescue and Sanctuary has been hard at work preparing for its upcoming “Pawsta” Dinner and Comedy Show fundraiser on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

The sixth annual event will take place at the Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre and run from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m..

Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and will include pizza, pasta and meatballs, salad, garlic bread, and will be followed by tea, coffee and dessert.

The comedy show, hosted by comedian Chris Jarvie, will kick off at 8:00 p.m. and will feature local comedians including Sarah Boston, The Beckhams, Paul McCallum, Nara Farrell and headliner Ryan Horwood.

“We usually have a couple vendors that sell some cat themed things,” said Patricia Kawamoto, Chair and Managing Director of Hearts to Home. “So, we have somebody who makes cat beds and embroiders hand and tea towels, and we also have somebody who does pottery cat dishes. Usually, we also have our own table with donated items that people have made for us.”

Kawamoto describes her organization as a grassroots organization that was formed in 2016, based on the need in the community.

The rescue was originally started after Kawamoto and her husband had been fostering animals and realized that the volume of stray cats was far too great.

“It quickly became obvious that SPCA couldn’t handle it alone, and then there was about five rescues that popped up in Brantford,” she said. “Three of us are still very active besides the SPCA, so including them there’s four rescues in the area. There is a crisis in southern Ontario and in other parts of Canada as well, with pet overpopulation as a result of a few things that have happened.”

The annual dinner and comedy show features a variety of tables during last year’s Crazy Cat People fundraiser on Saturday, February 11, 2023. Photo courtesy Hearts to Home Feline Rescue and Sanctuary Facebook.

Kawamoto noted that from what she has seen, the pandemic created a surge in the overpopulation of animals.

“Before COVID-19, we would typically have been dealing with around 40 to 50 cats at a time, but since the pandemic, we now deal with 140 to 150 cats and kittens at a time. With the lockdown, a lot of people wanted pets but when they back to work, many found that they didn’t have the time for them and so there’s been a lot of surrenders,” she said. “We also saw an increase in backyard breeders looking to make money, and now that people are no longer adopting, we often get those breeders coming to us. Another part of the issue is, of course, the economy and the cost of housing. The cost of living has gone up so high, prices have sky-rocketed, and it’s become very difficult for families to take care of their animals.”

Kawamoto noted that her and her team strive to help where they can.

“We try not to judge and we really just try to get in and help, that’s kind of my motto. Unfortunately, the problem is so large that we can’t do it all and that’s one of the things that pulls on my heart,” she said. “I want to do more, but there’s only so much we can do because it’s a big job. We really strive to help the pet overpopulation and to stop the suffering because these animals are not native wildlife. They suffer hypothermia, heat stroke, and frostbite just like you and I do.”

She said that the organization tries to tackle these issues on three levels.

“One, we take in as many cats and kittens as we can and find homes for the adoptable cats. Two, we help to spay and neuter the community and colony cats through the Trap Neuter and Return (TNR) program, and that helps with the pet overpopulation,” said Kawamoto. “And three, we help the families that are in need to keep the pets. So, in certain instances, a lot of landlords are now at the point where they want to know that the cats are fixed and that they’re vaccinated, so we help with that where we can.”

Funds that are raised from the upcoming “Pawsta” Dinner and Comedy Show will go straight back into the volunteer-run organization to help care for the felines.

“Our biggest cost is veterinary care because it can be anywhere between $150,000 to $200,000 a year,” said Kawamoto. “Our next biggest expense is really the cost of food for the animals, so these fundraisers are so important to us and it’s just one piece of the puzzle. We find it’s just a great way for people that are cat lovers to get together, raise some money, share an experience and have some fun.”

Tickets are $55 each and can be purchased by texting Kawamoto at 226-388-1256, Rina at 519-755-2575 or by emailing heartstohomesfelines@gmail.com

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