“The Jetty Cats” is our name for the colony of cats residing in Westport’s dock area. This colony exists because irresponsible owners abandon their pets at this location.
Before the birth of HAVA, an earlier colony was eradicated by poison, only to have a new colony replace it. Not long after HAVA was first organized, we heard that the colony was once again being targeted for elimination.
This time they were being shot at, clubbed, chased by dogs, and trapped and killed. We learned of this when the person feeding the colony began finding the bodies, some dead and some barely alive. HAVA volunteers trapped the remaining twenty-two animals, transported them to the vet for testing, vaccinations, spay/neuter, and ear-clipping for identification, and moved them to the property of one of our volunteers, where they have spring water and shelter from the elements.
With the dumping of new animals, the colony has again built up. HAVA has again trapped, spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and returned them to the docks, where they have thrived under the care of Sylvia Ross and others, who feed them daily. Many Jetty Cats are domesticated and can be petted and held by caretakers. They are not feral cats but abandoned animals who were once someone’s pets.
These unfortunate creatures, whose only crime is not having a permanent home, keep the rodent population down, which makes them valuable assets to the community. Many tourists have come to care about the Jetty Cats and visit them on their travels to Westport. When the owners of the Westport Winery heard about the Jetty Cats, they named one of their red wines after them — Jetty Cat Red. It remains their best-selling red wine, and HAVA is the grateful beneficiary of a percentage of the proceeds from every bottle sold.