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Feral Cat Program – Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) in Edinburgh & Fife

There is a fast growing number of stray and feral cats throughout the East Central Scotland area.  Colonies, or large groups of cats are popping up all over Edinburgh & Fife and with each passing year it definitely feels as if the numbers are growing and we are falling further and further behind in our efforts to curb this wild population.



Most feral colonies in well populated areas often start out as a result of a few formerly owned cats either being abandoned or lost.  They are often not neutered so find a mate quite quickly and before  you know it you have 2 or 3 generations of now feral kittens and cats running all over the place who have never been exposed to positive handling by humans.   The end result is several large colonies bursting at the seams with numbers and food supplies struggling to meet the demands of 20 or 30 cats where once there were 5-10.

This in turn can cause a massive social disturbance.  Not least by the numbers of cats calling and fighting over food supplies but the constant yowling of fighting cats or in season females.  Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue receives many calls each week from members of the local communities who are at their wits end on what to do with these cats, which through their wild nature, the vast number of rescues simply don’t have the facilities to take them in and place them.

Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue have always operated a Feral Cat Program and have over the years discreetly trapped, neutered and returned many many cats improving the environment for the people living in the affected area but also greatly improving the health and well being of the cats that live there.  Benefits of TNR programs include:

  • Nuisance mating behaviours such as fighting tom cats and yowling females is gone.
  • Cats are calmer generally and there is less / no fighting over territory.
  • Cats are much healthier prolonging their lifespan. They gain weight and have much thicker healthy coats.
  • Reduces the cat population in the area by removing the ability to reproduce.

More importantly with all of the above,  relationships between local residents and the cats themselves improves creating a more positive, harmonious living environment where cats and local residents can live together.  All these cats require is a food source and shelter which they typically source for themselves in or under sheds or local buildings or in some instances people we refer to as feeders or Feral Caretakers, will sometimes put rabbit hutches or pet houses in their gardens for these cats to shelter in.

In the instance of industrial feral cat colonies the same benefits apply but the added benefit particularly relevant to industrial sites is that may of these cats take up the role of working cats by keeping the population of rats and mice at bay thereby protecting local business investments in stock, buildings and equipment.

Please CLICK here to Donate via the CAFDonate Portal

What does Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) involve?

Example of a humane cat trap

Example of a humane cat trap

TNR describes very clearly the steps that we must take to ensure the safe capture, neuter and release of the cats within a feral colony.  We use safe humane metal traps that will not harm the cats in any way and require only that a cat trigger a pad in the trap and the door closes behind them.  In some instances more manual intervention is needed and so Paul built his own remote control trap out of a door bell!  (those who know Paul will appreciate that comment) 

Once the cat is caught we cover the the trap with a large blanket to keep the cat warm and to reduce stress while we transport them to our local vets where they perform a neuter (male) or spay (female) operation and remove the tip of their left ear.  ‘Tipping’ as it is called is a globally recognised standard on how to identify a neutered feral cat.  Without this kind of identification we would have no way of easily knowing which cats were and weren’t neutered.

Once they have recovered from their surgery the cats are then taken back to the area from which they were trapped and released.  They will return to live their lives in a much less stressed and violent manner.  We try to do all of this with as little human contact with the cats as possible as handling and interacting with these cats is very stressful for them and our objective at all times is low stress for the cats. 

We will always ensure that there are people we refer to as Colony Caretakers in the area, typically formerly known as the cats feeders, to watch over and make sure the welfare of the cats is good and report back to us with any concerns.

 Please CLICK here to Donate via the CAFDonate Portal

Current Areas & Feral Cat Programs


We are currently focusing our Feral Cat Program on 2 sites.  Firstly in the locality of Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue which takes in primarily Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath, Lochore and Ballingry but also other towns surrounding Lochgelly.

Ballingry in particular has an enormous issue with stray and feral cats and as such are trying to focus our attentions on a particularly bad area of Ballingry where we estimate a colony of approx 50 -60 cats in total over 2 streets whilst also working to TNR others in sporadic areas around these towns.

West Lothian

With the assistance of one of our volunteers Moira and her team based in West Lothian we are currently tackling a massive TNR project throughout the Grangemouth, Falkirk and surrounding areas.  Our current focus in this project is around the site of a very large Recycling Plant in an industrial location.  The site owners are great in that they are happy for the cats to remain on site as their home and many of the workers already feed the cats on site and are happy to remain their caretakers.  The cats here are working cats and they are most definitely doing their job as workers have never so much as seen a rat! Not many recycling plants could probably say that however this one in particular has estimated colony numbers of 40 -60 cats.

It is a vast sprawling location and there are lots of very heavy machinery such as JCB’s, forklifts and balers for the cats to manoeuvre and not all of them are lucky to have long lives but they are content and for many that is all they have ever known.  We took over this site around June 2016 neutering roughly 1-2 cats per week but there are still many more to be caught at this location and then efforts will need to continue throughout the industrial area.

Please CLICK here to Donate via the CAFDonate Portal

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How You Can Help

Funding all these activities takes a wealth of volunteers time, patience, fuel (in travelling) but most of all money.  Equipment has to be purchased such as traps, restrainers and carry cases for release.  Then there is the veterinary fees associated with sedating, neutering, worming and flea treatments which all adds up to several thousands of pounds each colony and community we help.

There are a few ways that you can help us to continue this work which includes:

Donating to our feral projects.  You can DONATE by TEXT to 70070 by sending SHCR16 £5 or donate by debit/credit card, Direct Debit or PayPal via our online donations portal from CAF Donate at the link below.  Using our online donations portal you can also Gift Aid your donation making it worth 25% more to the charity i.e. £10 donations becomes £12.50 with Gift Aid at no additional cost to you.

Please CLICK here to Donate via the CAFDonate Portal
Alternatively you could also help fund the program by:

  • Organising collections of good quality bric a brac, homewares, unwanted gifts, jewellery, good quality clean clothes,  CD/DVD’s and games for various consoles that we can use to sell and raise money for the TNR programs. 
  • Organising Tea Parties, Bake Sales or a raffle / tombola with friends or colleagues at work.

Feral Cat Programs are exceptionally hard work but at the same time very rewarding as you see formerly cowering, scared cats spending their days living in the shadows and fighting turn into settled, playful happy cats who love sun bathing and playing in the grass.

Could you become a Colony Caretaker? 

Being a colony caretaker is where you are responsible for monitoring a colony and ensuring their welfare. You would log which cats you have in the colony,  make sure they are fed regularly, log any new cats for neutering, identify any needing medical care and make sure they have adequate access to food,  water & shelter particularly in the winter months.  

Like all aspects of working with cats you get back tenfold what you put in and there is absolutely nothing more rewarding than seeing scared skittish ferals rolling about on their back in a garden & chasing butterflies!

We would like to say a very heart felt thank you to each and every one of our supporters that continues to help us provide such a critical service to the feral cat colonies around Edinburgh & Fife.





Update on Air Conditioning Appeal

We would like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU!!! to everyone who helped with our appeal for funds to install new air conditioning units in the new cattery as our old unit held together with gaffa tape & hope was rapidly falling to bits.

Our lovely new fully working air con units.

We had identified the 3 units we would need which are fed by external inverter units that would provide cool air in summer, warm air in winter and with added dehumidifier functionality too.

Our budget for this was £1500 and we were overwhelmed by the support so many of you showed for the harbour babies who were literally melting in the summer heat and it was hindering their recoveries.

We would very much like to add an enormous special thanks to Yvonne & Peter Radcliffe whose company ETL Air Conditioning stepped in to help us with the purchase and installation of the air conditioning units within our limited budget.

We can now confirm the units were delivered and successfully installed by Yvonne’s company who sent up one of their engineers from Yorkshire to install the system.  Not only that we also have a fantastic warranty on the units as well for peace of mind should anything go wrong with any of the units and help is only a phone call away!

We truly cannot thanks all of you amazing, special people who supported our appeal enabling the Harbour Babies to now be enjoying fantastic climate controlled rooms, while the rest of us melt in this heat!!

As always none of this would have been possible without the amazing, unstinting support so many of you show for the harbour babies and ensuring they receive the very best of care.

Without amazing, kind and generous people such as you we truly could not continue to do the work we do to keep the stray & abandoned cats throughout the region safe, loved and with all the veterinary care they require.

On behalf of the kitties Paul & I send our very heartfelt thanks to each and everyone of our donors and to Yvonne and her team for making this a reality and giving the babies such a fabulous outcome.

Thank you so so much.

Sarah & Paul

Madcatters Tea Party- Children’s Crafting Day & Craft Fair in Lochgelly

Come and join us for a fun packed day whilst raising critical funds for Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue to help rescue and save the lives of sick stray cats throughout East Central Scotland.

We will of course have, as always, a large range of craft boutiques in attendance which show case some of the top crafters in Fife with exceptional quality and attention to detail over 20+ stalls.

This will also be the first time that Mr Norris our Rescue Cat of the Year from Royal Canin makes an appearance at the show with his little brother Leo. Pop along for some cuddles and a pic or 2 with the star of the show and grab some freebies too with Royal Canin handing out free food samples and vouchers on the day!

image of Mr Norris

Come say hi to Mr Norris and get your photo taken with Royal Canin Rescue Cat of the Year!

Our activities for this event focus on family fun and we have a selection of activities for you to take part in either as a family or just for the kids while you enjoy a spot of shopping or take advantage of the tea & cake area while you wait on the kids completing their activities.

This will include activities such as making your own door signs & magnets, gift plaques, ceramics, mask making, and more

Our aim of the day is of course fundraising to help us care for the 45+ charges we have at Sunny Harbour at any one time. We assure you of a very warm and friendly welcome and our events have become known for their friendly chatty atmosphere and a great forum to meet other cat loving people should you wish to do so.  

Don’t fancy the crafts or shopping?  Why not just stop in out the cold for a hot cup of tea and to enjoy some delicious home baking. We will have the now famous Lemon Drizzle Cake which always sells fast!

Paul & Sarah are on hand throughout the day if you would like to speak to them.

image of Leo the Cat

Hey I’m Leo. Come meet me and have your photo taken with me at the fair!

All ages are welcome and we will do our very best to ensure you all enjoy your afternoon out and with FREE ENTRY what have you got to lose?

Please follow our event page for the latest news on crafters attending and show casing their wares but also for updates on the kids activities on the day.

We promise you this isn’t just any old craft fair.

This is a Madcatters Tea Party jam packed with FUN & LAUGHTER!

This event takes place on the 2nd April 2016 at Lochgelly Town Hall

11.00 am til 4.30pm.

image of Craft Fair Poster.

Donating Items to Sunny Harbour – Items in need

Sunny Harbour Cat & Kitten Rescue are always in need of the many items that we use every day in caring for the many sick and injured animals that enter our care. Any donation, no matter how small, is always very gratefully received.  We do have an Amazon Wish List which is kept updated of some of the items we most urgently  need which also provides the ability to purchase at the same time.  You can find this here.

Items that we are always in most urgent need of are:

  • Felix Cat Food / Felix Kitten Food (jelly variety only please as gravy causes upset tummy’s)
  • Cat Toys
  • Bedding & Old Linen such as duvet covers, sheets, towels.
  • Puppy pads /incontinence pads or equivalent.
  • Good Quality Bric a Brac, unwanted gifts and homewares that we can use to raise funds for the cats and kittens at sales such as Car Boots or our shop the Cat Care Centre.
  • Old unwanted DVD/CD, mobile phones and PlayStation or X Box games that we can use to raise funds.
  • Cat Carrier Boxes
  • Stationary – Pads, pens, staples, postage stamps, envelopes,mailing bags, packaging supplies, printer paper etc
  • Washing powder or liquid
  • Thick Lemon Bleach
  • Cleaning Cloths

The following are some of the medical and general supplies in use at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue should you wish to donate any of the specific items we use everyday we would be very grateful.  The items highlighted with links are those available without prescription.

If you would prefer to make a monetary donation towards the costs of the items listed above please click on the button below to donate funds directly to Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue:

donate button

Alternatively if you would prefer to donate directly to our Veterinary Care Bill, which some people do, you can contact Cameron & Greig Veterinary Surgeons on 01383 611410 and ask to make payment to the account of Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue.

The postal address to send donations to is:

Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue
70 Bank Street

Thank you so so much to all who have and continue to donate to date.  We truly could not continue our work to save as many cats and kittens as we do without your unstinting support.  You are the BEST!

Sarah & Paul Ross
Co Founders


Emaciated Cat Found in Glenrothes


Thanks to local enquiries this wee guys owners were traced and he is now receiving veterinary care for Hyperthyroidism which caused his poor condition.


Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue have taken in an extremely emaciated old ginger cat from Glenrothes this week.  He is settling in well and spent his first few days sleeping soundly as he is absolutely exhausted.  He is is also filthy and matted and obviously very hungry.

Emaciated cat on arrival at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue.

Emaciated cat on arrival at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue.

We have been giving him small wet meals since he arrived and here is a picture of him out for the count catching some sleep on a cosy bed for his weary bones.

We are currently assessing him for signs of illness that may indicate why he is in the extremely poor condition he is and once strong enough will be going for tests to identify any other underlying causes other than just lack of food.

He is not in any pain and for the first time today did call for food rather than us having to wake him to feed and then letting him go back to sleep again.  He is looking brighter and regaining strength a little more every day and we are just very grateful that he found his way to someone who knew to call our cat rescue centre for help.

In the meantime if anyone has any information about this old boy we would be very grateful if you could let us know either by calling in on 0300 330 1412 or by email (see header image on website) or PM through our Facebook page.


Kittens Rescued from Nursery Attic by Lochgelly Cat Rescue

It had already been a very hectic week at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue and on dropping our non furry child at nursery I was caught by the head teacher who began to tell me a tale of a mother cat who had given birth in the attic of the children’s nursery in Kelty.

It transpired at before the Easter break the mother cat had gone in through the boiler house and up into the attic whilst pregnant and reappeared days later no longer pregnant and with milk. She had given birth in the attic.

Paul found them together in the attic

Paul found them together in the attic

At first it didn’t seem too bad as mum was coming and going to feed them and staff were trying to find out where the kittens were in the meantime, in the vast space of the attic.  However things took a turn for the worst when on the morning of Tuesday 5th May mum cat was found deceased in the grounds of the nursery, possibly having been there from the night before it was unclear when the kittens, estimated around 4 weeks old, may last have had a feed.

The nursery had called another rescue charity on the Tuesday who after hours of searching had come up with no leads and said they could do no more. But after talking to the teacher on the Wednesday I knew we had to go out and see if we could find anything. At around 48 hours in a hot environment with no food and water the kittens would not survive much longer.

I returned home and told Paul the situation and he immediately got our rescue equipment ready and headed out the door to the nursery. Paul re traced the mum cats path into the boiler house and up through a cupboard into the attic. After 10 to 15 minutes of searching he found her nest site in the attic but the kittens had gone.  Now the hard part searching an enormous buildings attic to find little 3 to 4 week old kittens who could be anywhere!

Paul systematically worked his way through the building going up into the attic to look for tracks or even squeaks from the kittens.  It didn’t take him long and he found a track that he could follow through the building to above the front office.

This is where he found the kittens hiding, laying low, waiting on mum.

Paul recovering from his hard work

Paul recovering from his hard work

Now for the hard part. Catching them.  He could count 3 kittens alive in total and no sign of any more. With a few tricks and quick thinking Paul pulled the insulation with a kitten on it to get it towards him and caught the first kitten.  The 2nd was more tricky and that took a combination of trickery and our catch net, but he got the kitten.  The 3rd was more afraid and it decided to take itself off to the back of the building into a tiny hard to reach space.  This kitten took a bit longer to catch but was finally out smarted by Paul. 🙂  He had all 3 much to the delight of the nursery staff.

The kittens were clean but their weight had clearly dropped significantly and all 3 were very dehydrated. 2 were nice and bright but the 3rd was quiet and very withdrawn. They would not have survived another 48 hours up there alone. Paul returned back to Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue with the kittens and we immediately prepared them some kitten formula. We estimated the kittens age to be 3.5 weeks old and they were too young for solid food so out came our bottle feeding equipment and small incubator house for the little ones.

Little O'Malley being fed by bottle

Little O’Malley being fed by bottle

We are now a few days into their care and they are feeding OK.  Not brilliantly, but OK.  The 3rd kitten is still giving us cause for concern and we are worried, but will just have to see what lies ahead for them. Obviously without fluids for so long in such a hot environment was bad for them. However they have also been living and crawling around in glass fibre insulation for 3 weeks and that worries us that there may be future complications due to them ingesting and breathing in the fibres.

Time will tell I suppose but for now all we can do is our best and that is to provide them with appropriate nutrition and round the clock care.  Until we know more all we can do is keep our fingers and paws crossed and hope for a positive outcome for them all.

If you would like to help these 3 little babies by donating to their care you can do so by donating online via our online donation provider Virgin Money Giving.

donate button

In the meantime please send them healing wishes and vibes. They need them.


kittens sleepy kittens





January 2015 Newsletter – Harbour News

We have now published our Newsletter for the beginning of 2015, the Harbour News.

To view our newsletter in an easy to read online format please click here or click the image below.

We hope you will enjoy catching up on all our latest news from the Harbour.

Jan 2015

Jan 2015

Caturday Crafternoon – childrens crafts fun day and craft fair

May Craft Fair PosterCome and join us for a fun packed day whilst raising critical funds for Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue to finish our new cattery.

We will of course have, as always, a large range of craft boutiques in attendance which show case some of the top crafters in Fife with exceptional quality and attention to detail.

Our activities for this event focus on family fun and we have a selection of activities for you to take part in either as a family or just for the kids while you enjoy a spot of shopping or take advantage of the tea & cake area while you wait on the kids completing their activities.

This will include activities such as making your own door signs, gift placques, ceramics, card making and more.

Our aim of the day is of course fundraising to complete the purchase of materials needed for the new cattery building. On the day itself we assure you of a warm and friendly welcome.

All ages are welcome and we will do our very best to ensure you all enjoy your afternoon out.

Please follow our event page for the latest news on crafters attending and show casing their wares but also for updates on the kids activities on the day.

We promise you this isn’t just any old craft fair.

This is a Crafternoon of FUN!

This event takes place on the 23rd May 2015 at Lochgelly Town Hall

11.30 am til 4.30pm.