"Feral cats” are a growing problem in Barra

​A volunteer-run body that helps deal with feral cats has responded to an urgent plea of assistance from Barra, with the island said to be facing a significant feline crisis.
The feral cats will be caught and transported to Stornoway.The feral cats will be caught and transported to Stornoway.
The feral cats will be caught and transported to Stornoway.

A delegation from the Western Isles Support for Cats and Kittens, based in Stornoway, will now head south to put their skills and experience to use in controlling “the growing cat colony on Barra”.

In a statement released to the media last week, WISCK said: “As the only organisation in the Western Isles focusing on the trapping, neutering, and release of cats, following the departure of national charities years ago, WISCK has taken a stand to support the overwhelmed community and the growing cat colony on Barra.

“This operation highlights the unique challenges faced by remote communities and the critical role that volunteer-run organisations like WISCK play in addressing these issues.”

The organisation was set up 20 years ago and rely on donation and fund-raising, as well as volunteers, to carry out their work.

Explaining the urgent call for assistance, they said: “The situation in Barra involves a colony of approximately 20 cats, potentially more, that have congregated at a local residence following the passing of two villagers.

“The lack of natural prey and the cats' reliance on human provision have escalated the need for intervention to prevent the colony from growing uncontrollably, posing a threat to the scarce local wildlife and the cats' well-being.”

They added: “WISCK is undertaking the monumental task of trapping the cats, transporting them to Cat Central in Stornoway for health checks, neutering, and ultimately finding them suitable barn or stable homes across the islands.

“This intervention is imperative for the welfare of both the cats and the island's ecosystem, especially with kitten season looming.”

The work will involve transporting the animals back to their base in Stornoway and it shows, they said, the importance of the work and services they offer.

“This effort highlights the importance of community and volunteer support in addressing animal welfare issues in the Western Isles.

“WISCK extends heartfelt thanks to the incredible volunteers facilitating the trapping and transportation of the cats from Barra to Stornoway, as well as the generous donors whose contributions are vital to the success of this mission,” they said.