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Biophile Magazine -- » M.E.R.C.Y. Animal rescue

"One of the greatest surprises you'll experience, is when you discover that you can do what you were afraid you couldn't do.
Your obstacles will melt away, if instead of cowering before them, you make up your mind to walk boldly through them." Daily Guru

M.E.R.C.Y. Animal rescue


FILED IN: Animals and Animal Welfare · Issue 13

M.E.R.C.Y. Animal Rescue began life as the Waterfront Cat Sterilisation, Feeding and Monitoring Project dedicated to the ending of the feral cat breeding cycle at the popular Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, as well as providing for the sustentation and medical care of these neglected creatures.

Adopting a pragmatic approach it’s founder members Connie Brachtl and Steve Smith set out to achieve what the beneficiaries of this prime tourist money spinner could not be bothered to do. The current sterilisation success rate of 80% provides clear proof that with compassion, commitment and a practical approach the seemingly impossible can be achieved.

One day seven years ago Connie and Steve were down at the Waterfront and after seeing the umpteenth litter of newborn kittens running confused through the traffic in search of refuge they decided that it was up to them to end the neglect of these beautiful creatures. A plan of action was drawn up whereby the Waterfront was divided up into sectors and every member of each colony noted by description – size, markings, etc. as well as location.

Spreading out tinned food it was observed at each site that without fail every single cat was in a state of physical and mental breakdown- skeletal, bedraggled, eyes conveying panic, bewilderment and disorientation due to unchecked abuse and near total starvation. Watching these near-dead creatures gorging desperately and then regurgitating food too rich for their shrunken tummies only reinforced the need to end their misery.

If this was to be successfully achieved it was imperative that a sterilisation project had to be implemented immediately.

After numerous approaches to the authorities for assistance it was made pretty clear to Connie and Steve that they were on their own. And so began the search for a solution. Vets were approached to contribute sterilisations at reduced rates, many offering their services. Due to the nature of the work and the scale of the area it became apparent that the project required a macro approach. Cometh the hour cometh the man. A chance meeting with Vincent Gabriel of Animal Rescue Organisation lead to the back of this project being broken. Asking for patience initially while he set proceedings in motion Connie and Steve, upon receiving the go ahead, endeavoured to trap 70 cats within two and a half months. After a lull in which to raise additional funds a further batch of 60 cats were trapped and sterilised within two months. At the same time every colony had to receive its nightly feeding, a process that has continued unabated to this day.

The bond of trust now established between animal and human has been the most rewarding aspect of this project for Connie and Steve. The cats understand that they are cared for, with many people expressing surprise at their condition. Making as difference in the lives of these animals has made a difference to the lives of these two human beings.

Now they need YOUR help to bring the sterilisation project to fulfillment, and to provide the food and medical care necessary for these cats to see out their days without the ever-present threat of cruelty and neglect once again. Alternatively, any donations toward a critically needed reliable bakkie, our lifeline to these animals, would be gratefully appreciated.
Connie and Steve may be contacted by email:
or by writing to:
PO Box 8 Sea Point 8060



  1. Thank you for your care of the cats? How many cats are estimated to be in the Waterfront? How do you expect the building development that is going on to impact on the cat population? Does the Waterfront or Ports people or the SPCA assist in any way?

    Comment by Jan Reid

  2. Hi

    I just want to appeal to everyone, my mom rescues dogs and she is looking the place that she keeps them and needs a place to keep them by 31 December 2009. I would like any donations that anyone can offer to help her find a new place to keep the dogs.

    Please contact me on 072 338 5635

    Comment by Corey

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