Share this #HOTGR blog post

Coriza Vermeulen - Helping township and feral cats for a living

Coriza is part of C.A.T. (Cat Assistance Team), which aims to sterilize and provide assistance to cats along the Garden Route. We joined Coriza on a cat rescue operation on a drizzly Thursday morning and had the chance to experience what it’s like helping cats in a township outside George. 

“My husband thinks I’m mad. Like, ‘Why do you do something like this all the time and get no pay? Why use your own car?’ But it’s just something that, once you start, you can’t stop. Because you see the amazing difference a little bit of volunteer work can do.

“My daughter brought a cat home once and that was it. I mean, I didn’t grow up with cats and the little thing just amazed me. It also started with Rita (the founder of C.A.T.). I learned so much from her. And then I thought, ‘Why didn’t I start earlier?’ The thing is, I never even noticed cats before. You know when you go to restaurants there are always feral cats around. I never thought about the needs of these cats that I would see.Now, whenever I go to a restaurant, I’m always looking for cats. When I don’t see any, that’s weird to me now.

coriza vermeulen garden route 2
coriza vermeulen garden route 3

"My husband thinks I’m mad. Like, ‘Why do you do something like this all the time and get no pay?'"

“I’ve been with CAT Garden Route for 4 years now. I started when my youngest daughter went to university. They actually helped me a lot. My daughter was a very busy girl, she kept me very busy but then, eventually, I had nothing. So doing this has helped me a lot, emotionally too. I mean, what else could I do? I’m not a coffee shop lady! Things that I feel matter, it gives me a sense of joy. When I go out and help these cats, it feels like I did something today, something rewarding, not just doing nothing. There’s a real sense of accomplishment there. My kids are raised now and I’ve worked, so this gives me something to do.

“There was a  ginger cat that was very dear to me. He was bitten by dogs and he eventually came to me, he was hurt badly and I brought him to the SPCA. They actually said they will help him but it’s going to cost, so I asked everybody for money and eventually, we got enough. He was eventually saved after spending two months at the SPCA  and a friend of mine adopted him. He is so awesome, his name is Tripod because of his three legs and he made it! 

“One of the houses we visited this morning used to have a cat and his eye got hurt, so I brought him in to the vet and the eye had to be removed. We ended up taking him in and found a home for him in Cape Town with some lovely people. Cape Town is the most pet-friendly place. The cat is named Luna now. Stories like that make it worth it.”

To be volunteer or donate to C.A.T., call 072 425 5843 or email them at info@catgardenroute.co.za. 

Related Posts

Kenny Coskey - The Aquaman

Kenny Coskey - The Aquaman

A soul made of ocean. Kenny takes a nearby piece of rope and entertains the restless puppy. The joy that such a small moment offers is contagious. He speaks of the various experiences he has had underwater, from schools of fish to pods of dolphins swimming by. Mossel Bay is an amazing place to explore. He has had only one terrifying encounter and is was not due to any unfriendly visitors.
Gerhard van Rooyen - The Game Ranger

Gerhard van Rooyen - The Game Ranger

Nature is the best cure. "Being here, one realises that city life is very much driven on where you stay, what you drive and all that kind of stuff. When you get here, you realise that there’s more to life than just materialistic things. The best medicine you can have is nature. Being surrounded by good things. And animals, they don’t ask anything, they just give."
Hermann Vivier - The Surfer Dad

Hermann Vivier - The Surfer Dad

Founding Father of The Surfer Kids. "I think there are several reasons why we started The Surfer Kids. I think the first and most important reason is because we saw the kids in that rural village near Friemersheim, and we saw how there was just nothing there for them to do. They were just walking around, absolutely pointlessly, not doing anything, there was nothing to keep them busy with, nothing constructive, no sort of development of, you know, their physical or mental or whatever capabilities, nothing."