Friend of felines looking to find good home for the small critters
© Guardian photo
David DeCourcey with some of the cats he has rescued. About two years ago, DeCourcey decided to build a cat sanctuary for the many homeless countryside cats he had taken to watching over.
MORELL — He's Catman.
David DeCourcey, 61, of Charlottetown has long held a great affection for felines.
He is a true cat lover. He is also a cat caregiver and a cat lifesaver.
DeCourcey, who grew up on a farm in Morell where one or two cats could usually be found pawing around the property, has made a mission of helping as many cats as he can.
He would regularly feed stray cats in the capital city. He would leave food in areas that he knew the homeless critters would congregate. He even made small shelters for the cats.
"It's just I do everything I can to help the little animals,'' he says.
"They're just sweet, little animals...you can't get nothing sweeter. And they give love unconditional.''
DeCourcey has even been making his way to one particular area of rural P.E.I. for more than a decade to give stray cats a, well, paw up. He would provide temporary shelters and even convince people to offer up their barns as a home for the felines.
About two years ago, DeCourcey decided to build a cat sanctuary for the many homeless countryside cats he had taken to watching over.
He built a massive pen covering roughly 30,000 square feet of largely tall grass that provides welcome shelter from the sun when the cats choose to roam outside. He also built a couple of small, insulated barns lined with straw to protect the animals from the elements.
About 70 cats, each spayed or neutered, were given sanctuary.
Every second day, DeCourcey makes his way from his modest Charlottetown apartment out to the cats' country retreat to provide food and water for the animals.
He spends close to $200 a month on cat food out of a small fixed income, at times cutting back on his own groceries to ensure none of the cats go hungry. He even walked through deep snow down a long, unplowed road last winter to feed the cats at the sanctuary.
Relying largely on word of mouth, DeCourcey has found a home for about 30 of the cats.
The cost of feeding all the cats is taking a noticeable bite out of his budget. Also, the ongoing care has become an increasingly demanding task for the man who needs a cane to get around following knee replacement surgery.
Still, DeCourcey, who has six cats in his apartment, says he will "go till I drop'' caring for the cats he hopes to find homes for. He has quite a colony of healthy, friendly cats for people to choose from.
To some, however, the sanctuary looks more like a cruel cage than a comfortable home. Calls were made recently to the P.E.I. Humane Society raising concerns about the care and condition of the cats.
DeCourcey says the Humane Society put down about 20 of the cats in the past few weeks, noting most were quite old, up in the 18- or 19-year-old range.
Kelly Mullaly, executive director of the P.E.I. Humane Society, says the organization is on top of the situation.
"We are working with Mr. DeCourcey to achieve the best possible outcome for the health and welfare for the animals in his care,'' she says.
"It is an ongoing matter and it is not expected to be concluded for at least another two or three weeks.''
As for DeCourcey, he is taken aback by the public backlash against him, particularly by people accusing him of mistreating the cats.
"I didn't want to cause no waves but I see you can't do something out of the goodness of your heart without people saying something,'' he says.
DeCourcey has about 40 cats left in the sanctuary that he is offering up for free to good, caring cat lovers. Give him a call at 213-0095 if you are interested in adopting one or more of his cats.