If you think TV is sexy glamourous work, don’t read any further.
It’s 30 degrees, the hottest September day on record and we have just arrived in 100 Mile House for the first day and night of shooting on our new film, Cat Craze. It’s hard to breathe as the air fills with acrid smoke from freshly re-kindled forest fires. We are here to capture one raging cat fight. 100 Mile House took some serious heat for its decision to euthanize some 100 feral cats which were causing a nuisance and so much more.
“The last thing I want to do is kill an animal, but it’s a huge safety issue,” said Mayor Mitch Campsall. “I can answer to an animal rights group to the fact that we’ve got rid of a few cats. But what I can’t answer to is a mom or a father coming to me saying, ‘You did nothing and now my child is gone because a cougar came in and took it.’ It’s protect the people first.”
400 nasty emails later, the embattled mayor is happy to announce Katie’s Place a Maple Ridge feral cat shelter has stepped in with a “stay of execution,” for 100 Mile’s unwanted cats, promising to spay and neuter all the ferals and find them new shelters on the Lower Mainland.
Trapping and transporting the cats south is a big job – and it calls for a big gun in the world of animal rescue: Pam Halbers of Pawprints Animal Rescue. Pam’s animal rescue “baptism by fire,” was in New Orleans, post Katrina. Pam stocked up her van with over 20 traps and carriers, kitty food and blankets and drove from her home on the Sunshine Coast to 100 Mile House to train 100 Mile’s muncipal workers on how to trap cats. She’s up around the clock, sustaining herself on her “stash” as she calls it, of chocolate bars and Coke.
And so we begin to herd cats. And I mean “we.” Pam’s no fool. After watching the trapping feral cat demonstration, Pam puts the Bountiful Films crew to work. Cameraman Andre Fernandez cuts up donated blankets to line the cages of the newly trapped and terrified cats. Director Maureen Palmer drops a strategic and tantalizing trail of tuna directly into a trap. Sound man Pat Brereton keeps the local Timmy’s franchise in business.
And then we all sit back and wait. How successful was our overnight cat hunt? Stay tuned. We’ll have video up in a few days.
Thanks to the inexhaustible 100 Mile House Municipal workers who stayed up all night to trap cats. They must remain anonymous because the mayor says they all took so much abuse over the cat controversy, he wants them to work in peace. And not to slag Timmy’s but the Chartreuse Moose coffee house gives any Vancouver java hut a run for its money.