Celebrated author Charles Dickens once posed the pivotal question, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?”
Cut from a similar feline-loving cloth as Dickens, a special team at Naval Station Norfolk has made it their mission to arrange that gift — and then some — by corralling the legion of feral cats inhabiting the grounds on and around the base, spaying and neutering them and finding them forever homes, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Known as “Cat Team 7,” the group began wrangling the mousers in 2016, and through partnerships with animal rescue volunteers, the Norfolk SPCA and the Navy, nearly 60 cats and kittens were rescued, the Pilot reported.
That number rose to about 70 in 2017, a tally the group only expects to climb.
“We’re going to blow it out of the water (in 2018),” Caitlyn McIntosh, Cat Team 7’s team coordinator, told the Pilot.
Most of the cats on the base in Norfolk have taken up residence near the aircraft carrier piers, and frequently visit an adjacent picnic table area, the Pilot reported.
Despite the spike in rescues, though, the team is finding fewer kittens among the group, an indication of their struggle for survival, McIntosh told the Pilot.