Interview with Mornington Moggie Rescue

Interview with Mornington Moggie Rescue


Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cara from Mornington Moggie Rescue, one of our cat rescue partners. Mornington Moggie Rescue is based in Tyabb (VIC) that focuses on finding the perfect homes for mother cats and their kittens; they work on ending the cycle of repeat pregnancies that result in overpopulation. We spent some time over the phone where I asked her all about running a rescue; the trials, the tribulations and the heart-warming moments. We were both a little croaky on the call, both a little sick, but our conversation was filled with laughs, some awkward pauses from me (phone call anxiety, common with Gen Z-ers) and priceless insights. 

When did you start your rescue?

We started October 2022 after branching off another rescue. 

What’s the story behind starting Mornington Moggie Rescue? 

We decided “let’s step off on our own” [from another rescue] and we hit the ground running with a pregnant mum cat and it hasn’t stopped [since]. 

Where are your cats rescued from? 

Mum cats and their kittens are our priority, from pounds. A lot of the pounds we deal with have their euthanise list. We bring them in, we assess them… desex, microchip, vaccinate and any medical treatments needed are provided as well. [We also get them] socialised… we’re only a small team… we have 6 foster carers at the moment and each foster can have up to 8 cats and kittens at one time.


I know last year in December, I had about 33 in my care. Those were crazy times!

That’s a lot of cats! 

Coming into kitten season, I know last year in December, I had about 33 in my care. Those were crazy times! Socialising them all, giving them that sort of time they require… I still have one from December, I still have one of those kittens… [she’s] a beautiful cat, nearly 11 months old. She's just not ready to leave, so she’ll stay with me until she finds her human. Yeah, so we just wait until the right person comes along, we don’t push them out the nest until they’re ready. 

33 kittens? How do you not get attached? 

I know–it was hard, it was really really hard! I have three residents myself, one I’ve had for 13 years. I was never going to take on another one, but there was this cat who is about two; she couldn’t be rehomed because she’s got a medical condition that will require a lot of money later on in life. So I’ve decided to adopt her myself because she has grown very attached to me. Then I’ve got Tumbles […] he was born with Wobbly Cat Syndrome, and he turned one yesterday. He was born in the rescue […] he’s a great education cat as well because he’s very social, and he helps us provide the education behind why it’s so important to vaccinate and desex. His mum was five months old when she got pregnant. 


Tumbles the wobbly catTumbles the cat attacking tissue box

Tumbles the cat


I didn’t know cats could get pregnant so young!

Yes, so there have been cases [of pregnancy] in four month olds, but they tend to be around five months old, and they’re pregnant for nine weeks. And they can have up to eight kittens in a healthy pregnancy. Then in 6-8 weeks of having those babies they can get into heat again. Hence why there’s such a big cat population problem in the community. That’s why it’s so important to educate the community as well. So now that we’re a bit more established and what have you, we are now doing something which I know a lot of other rescues are doing, the Last Litter Program. 

What’s the Last Litter Program? 

We help community members around, if somehow they’ve gotten a hold of a free kitten, and found themselves in a bit of strife where that cat’s gotten pregnant, had kittens, we take the kittens off their hands to get them desexed and microchipped when they’re ready to come away from mum. But we also pay for mum to be desexed at no charge to the owner. 

We had that at Christmas time, I had one [guy], I think we’d taken on 12 of his kittens, and he finally agreed to have his mum cat desexed by us. It was lovely that he finally let us help him. I don’t want the phone call, I don’t want that “Hey Cara, I’ve got more kittens, can you help me?”. I’d rather help stop the cycle. We were able to rescue 12-14 kittens from him out of 20, since December. 


It's a lot of hard work; it's a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of tears


Why are people hesitant to desex their cats? 

I think it’s the cost involved, to be honest. For a cat to be spayed or neutered, you could be looking at that $250-300 mark. I think people don’t see the importance of it until it’s too late. [If you get a free kitten] it can cost a person–you know like “I got a free kitten off Gumtree”, that free kitten is going to cost you about probably $500 just in vet work, in the first 6-12 months. We always get asked “Why is your adoption fee $350?” [but] that doesn’t even cover the cost of medical, food, all that good stuff. It’s cheaper than that free kitten. 

What are some challenges that come with your work?

It’s a lot of hard work; it’s a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of tears! It’s not all fluff and fun, that’s for sure, [...] we lose some along the way [...] that’s heartbreaking. Because you just get so attached, it’s hard enough saying goodbye to them when they, you know, find their home. It’s a love-hate, you know they’ve got to go, but you don’t want them to! Each one’s got their own personality, but that’s the rewarding side of it. 

We get a lot of requests to take on older cats, y’know you get a puppy at Christmas but you’ve got a cat, so you get rid of the cat. A lot of Covid leftovers too. We don’t do it for any other reason. At the end of the day, it’s so rewarding to see a cat so happy with a human, and the love they bring to the human. It’s just amazing to see and to watch them grow. We do a lot of fundraising, we do a lot of community awareness, so we do come up against “I don’t like cats”' a little bit, and you don’t have to like cats to like what we're doing. We’re trying to stop the cycle of unwanted cats; the ones that are causing the issue. 

I love [rescuing], I think I’ve found my niche in life [...] I’m known as the crazy cat lady [...] Being something I go home to every night [...] It’s my happy space. I wish I could do more of it, but unfortunately I’ve got to work too! 

What support do you get to keep the rescue funded and running? 

Being a rescue, we’re very lucky to have partnerships with vets, because of the number of kittens or mum cats we put through them. We’ve [also] started and we’ve worked with several other rescues, combining and helping [each other]. “Hey, I can’t take this cat, can you take it?” and just helping each other. That makes life a lot better. When you’re working with other rescues and helping, we’re all doing the same thing [...] We’ll get bigger and better, but we have to keep it manageable as well. Yeah, me taking care of 33 kittens over Christmas, probably won’t do that again!

Not everyone is in a position to adopt, what are some other ways which people can help? 

We encourage either fostering, we encourage volunteering, donations, or even just helping us educate people. Take the time to have a chat with us and learn about what we do. Knowledge is power. Obviously not everyone can adopt, not everyone can foster, an hour of someone’s time to flip some burgers or snags on the barbie at our fundraisers helps us so much. Donations of old towels, things like that, have helped immensely. We go through so much linen, it’s not funny. 

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