Cantor Scott Borsky was never a “cat person.” He considered himself an animal lover and dog person, but he’d never taken care of a feline until around five years ago when a sick cat showed up at the door of his Cherry Hill home.
He took the cat to his local vet who saved the sick animal, and Borsky subsequently decided to take the cat in. A few weeks later, another sick cat wound up at Borsky’s door. Once again, he took the cat to the vet to be saved and found himself the sudden owner of two cats.
“All of a sudden it was clear to me what my mission was, and the rest is history,” Borsky said.
Cantor Scott’s Animal Rescue Center, a federal 501c3 nonprofit, works to manage feral cat colonies in Cherry Hill and the surrounding communities. The group assists with trap-neuter-release, takes in surrendered cats and helps move feral cat colonies. Borsky said now that word’s gotten out about their efforts, they’ve seen a recent surge in calls with people reaching out on nearly a daily basis asking them to help relocate strays, but given that the group operates out of local homes, they can only help a limited number. Now, the Cantor Scott’s Animal Rescue is making an appeal to the Cherry Hill community to help it find a space where it can accommodate more cats and make room for more volunteers.
By and large, Cantor Scott’s Animal Rescue Center is a small operation. Borsky and Corine Weinstein, the sanctuary coordinator and rehabilitation specialist, run the nonprofit. Five years ago, when Borsky sent out an email seeking donations for a nonprofit he was trying to get started, Weinstein didn’t have money to spare at the time, but she offered her services. She informed Borsky that she’d been working with feral cats for around 25 years, and she offered to help socialize the cats he was trying to save so that they could become adoptable.
Today, they feed nearly 200 feral cats throughout South Jersey on a daily basis, and they have a small network of fosters helping them to domesticate the strays. The challenge, however, is that fostering a feral involves a bit of training. Weinstein said she works with fosters to show them how to gradually earn a feral’s trust, but not everyone is willing to take that challenge on.
“The truth is we are overflowing with cats and not enough fosters,” Borsky said.
Weinstein lamented that they’ve had to turn people away who have contacted them to help relocate colonies. In the past, they’ve relocated a few colonies to farms in North Jersey, but the calls have increased with such frequency that they don’t have the time, resources or space to help everyone reaching out. In those instances, they’ll ask people to be patient, advise them on how to provide shelter or give them advice on how to trap, neuter and release.
When people call animal control on ferals, their fate is often grim because the cats are not seen as friendly or adoptable, Borsky said. Animal shelters are often too overburdened to provide the necessary rehabilitation and socialization, but Borsky and Weinstein are willing to put in weeks or months of time to rehabilitate their strays.
Weinstein said it’s a myth that feral cats can’t be socialized. She said given enough time, care and attention, even the most difficult cats can become socialized.
The nonprofit runs entirely on donations and adoption fees. Borsky said its goal is to have a space where it can house more cats, run seminars and educate volunteers who are willing to help. He said it’s difficult for them to find volunteers because, while people may want to help, they may not have the ability to bring the cats into their homes.
Borsky said they’re open to a variety of spaces. He’s started putting feelers out by posting in local groups about their need. He said he’s hopeful that someone might be able to donate a space or guide them toward a space with rent that they can manage.
“We believe that once we have a facility, we will be able to join in the efforts to save these animals by training volunteers to rehabilitate them so that they will be adoptable and able to find loving homes,” Borsky said.
To learn about the nonprofit or to contact it, visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Cantor-Scotts-Animal-Rescue-Center-393499314418183 or search Cantor Scott’s Animal Rescue Center.