How Cutie became Victoria Park's 'community cat'
Owner says she is happier roaming free than confined to her house
A Charlottetown cat that has become somewhat of a celebrity around Victoria Park is happy, healthy and doesn't need be rescued, says her owner.
Cutie the cat has been living in the park for the last few years, lounging by the pool, watching tennis matches and posing for pictures at the dairy bar. She often finds comfort — and food — at the pottery studio.
"She is totally like the Littlest Hobo," said her owner, Kelly Carter. "It's kind of fun to see that she's a bit of a celebrity."
She can be "a bit cranky" and doesn't always want to be touched, Carter said, but she's usually quite friendly and adventurous. You might see her outside the Brighton Clover Farm, or as far away as McDonald's. She's even been known to sneak into West Kent Elementary School on occasion.
Where she doesn't like to be, Carter said, is inside her home.
"Since Cutie was a kitten she's been impossible to keep inside," she said. "She has made every effort to escape the house at every possible opportunity, including jumping out of the second floor window and breaking through my screens. She just has always been a bit feral."
She just has always been a bit feral.— Kelly Carter
So Cutie, now seven years old, has become what Carter calls a "community cat." She even has her own Facebook page, where people post about her whereabouts and antics. Cutie comes home every once in a while to eat, and Carter will drop off food at the park.
"She's being looked after by the community and the people that want to tend to her in the place that she wants to be," she said.
But some people think Cutie is lost or needs to be rescued. Twice the cat has been taken to the P.E.I. Humane Society.
"I think that comes from a place of genuine concern and people are animal lovers and they have different beliefs about whether cats should be indoors or outdoors," Carter said.
No cat bylaw in Charlottetown
A spokesperson for the City of Charlottetown said there is no bylaw that makes it illegal for cats to roam free, as there is with dogs. Nor do cats have to be registered.
The Humane Society said it's safer for cats if they are contained when they are outside, either on a leash or in an enclosed yard.
If it's a healthy looking cat, chances are it lives in the neighbourhood and it's just out for a stroll.— Marla Somersall
Executive director Marla Somersall said if people do see a cat roaming free, it's best to leave it be unless it is injured.
She said cats are brought into the Humane Society daily during the summer months by well-meaning citizens. But she said the building is often already at full capacity, and unlike dogs, the cats rarely make it back to their owners.
"For us, it's really helpful if people, when they find a cat in the community, rather than scooping it up and bringing it to the Humane Society, call us first and we can go through some tips with them around finding the owner locally," she said.
"If it's a healthy looking cat, chances are it lives in the neighbourhood and it's just out for a stroll."
Carter said she appreciates the concern, but it's best to leave Cutie be.
"She really is a community cat in the sense that the whole community down in Brighton looks after her," she said. "She's very well loved by the people down there who know her. I'm grateful to all of them because it makes her life much more enjoyable."