Boy Scouts, church join to aid stray cats

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Andrew Aurichio, 13 and Branden Verity, 10, with the cat shelters they constructed.

Feral cats owe a debt of gratitude to two members of Boy Scout Troop 51, their leaders, representatives of Greenport’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and SAVES — Spay, Alter, Vaccinate Every Stray.

They’ve all played roles in a project to build raised feeding stations designed so the cats can feast without concern for weather or insects.

It started when Southold resident Jane Welz joined the congregation and queried Dick Ward, Holy Trinity’s liaison to Cub Scout and Boy Scout units that meet at the church, about helping with the SAVES project.

Mr. Ward and Leonard Dank, both church wardens, spearheaded the project with Mr. Ward turning to his grandson, 10-year-old Branden Verity of Southold, a troop member, who enlisted fellow Boy Scout Andrew Aurichio, 13, of Greenport to work on the project. Andrew is working on his Star ranking (two levels below Eagle Scout), which requires him to demonstrate leadership and service.

Enter contractor Charlie Thorp, who assisted the scouts and offered the use of power tools for construction. Riverhead Building Supply provided materials at cost and it took the scouts just a couple of days to complete six feeding stations. SAVES spays and neuters as many of the animals as it can.

All the stations have shingled rooftops to protect them from warping in foul weather and all are solid, but light enough to be moved from site to site as needed, according to Ms. Welz. Each feeding station will also carry a plaque indicating it was built by Troop 51.

“You see lots of cats on the streets,” Branden said in explaining why he wanted to tackle the project. His own family finally adopted one, now named Stormy, that had been hanging around their Southold home. “I would like to make more stations if I can get help,” he said.

“It’s a lot simpler than it looks,” Andrew said of the fabrication process.

If SAVES gets its way, it will also enlist the Boy Scouts’ help in building winter shelters for the feral cats, according to Ms. Welz.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said SAVES founder Carole Marcus.

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