Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Sandra Hoffman – seen here with two of Clover’s four kittens – has led an all-campus effort to rescue and rehome a family of feral cats at the Cloverdale Trades and Technology campus.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Sandra Hoffman – seen here with two of Clover’s four kittens – has led an all-campus effort to rescue and rehome a family of feral cats at the Cloverdale Trades and Technology campus.

Feral kittens capture hearts across KPU’s Cloverdale campus

Sandra Hoffman galvanizes efforts to rescue, rehome feline family

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

When Sandra Hoffman looked out into the service courtyard at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Cloverdale campus there was no mistaking the sound she heard emanating from beside the dumpster in the middle of the service courtyard.

“I could hear something definitely small and fuzzy. I went around the corner and I saw a kitten.”

A cat lover with kittens (and two school aged kids) at home already, Hoffman held back, hoping the kitten’s mom – dubbed ‘Clover’ – would return shortly.

But the weather started to turn, growing grey, wet and cold even though it was July.

“I watched for a half an hour, and the wind was rising,” she recalled Friday. She realized the kitten might die if she didn’t intervene.

She went to pick it up. The kitten’s paw pads were cold to the touch and it was very hungry.

There was no turning back, says Hoffman, a former KPU board member, brewing program student, and current employee. Hoffman works as a facilities services generalist at KPU, helping run the buildings on campus.

http://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wSandraandcats.jpgShe was on call as the First Aid attendant that shift and she couldn’t leave – so a colleague raced over to Cloverdale Pharmasave and picked up cat milk formula for the tiny kitten.

She took ‘Kaypuh’ home, nursed the weak little bundle back to health, eventually adopting the cat.

Kaypuh made regular visits to the Cloverdale campus, joining Hoffman on her work shifts, earning interest from staff and students alike.

Hoffman says her helpless feral kitten would have been no match for the coyotes and raptors that live in the undeveloped woods and open grasslands that surround the campus.

“I suspect Clover was near starving herself as she was extremely thin and did not return for the kitten,” Hoffman recalls. That’s when she decided to start feeding Clover – to support the momma cat’s health, and any remaining kittens – in hopes of trapping her, and having her spayed and released.

She was seen about a week later with a second kitten that was never seen again.

Clover, an attractive tuxedo cat with black and white markings, proved elusive. Despite the vittles left out for her, she was easily spooked and it was impossible to approach her.

Worryingly, Clover’s parenting days weren’t over, despite the concern among campus staff who were – like Hoffman – understandably anxious that they ensure she have no more kittens without a hope for a healthy future.

Fast forward to this summer, when staff discovered a new kitten den, hidden high up on an outdoor shelf next to the plumbing program workshop, well out of reach from predators (or people).

Hoffman posted notices asking people to limit their access to the area, hoping Clover wouldn’t feel threatened and move her nest.

With a raccoon trap she borrowed from her parents, she laid a trap, baiting it every day, hoping to catch Clover. A network of campus employees got behind the effort, keeping watch on the trap and reporting any sightings back to Hoffman.

Finally, their hard work and patience paid off in and Clover and her four kittens were gathered up in a temporary enclosure – an improvised metal cage with a lid.

Hoffman built another, larger enclhttp://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wKittengrey.jpgosure for the feline family, using donated supplies such as fencing, reclaimed surplus wood scraps and chicken wire and tracking down materials like a free climbing tree through Craigslist.

The result is a deluxe cat enclosure that’s filled with everything a growing cat family might need for fun and comfort. It’s large enough to accommodate two easy chairs for the parade of visitors who have come to play and socialize with the kittens for the past weeks. Student breaks are staggered throughout the day, providing the kittens – named Langley, Surrey, Kaypuh II, and Richmond in honour of KPU campuses – with a steady source of human contact.

“I wanted to have people help socialize them,” she smiles.

Today, all four of Clover’s kittens, which range from all black to mixes of grey and white, are thriving, litter trained, and are nearly ready to be placed in new-found homes.

“They now purr if you pick them up,” she says, recalling the skittish nest of hissing kittens she discovered initially.

If you’re really careful, it’s possible to pet Clover, too, however Hoffman puts on welding gloves, safety glasses and wears coveralls to do so.

Donations to the Feral Cat Project are still being accepted – Hoffman wants to have Clover spayed, vaccinated and checked over by a veterinarian before she’s set free again. Contact Hoffman at Sandra.Hoffman@kpu.ca to help.

Generous community and private donors have made the Feral Cat Project a success, including: KPU Tech, Yellow Fence Rentals Surrey, and Costco Langley.

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (Screenshot from Sebastian Sajda YouTube video)
VIDEO: Surrey mayor unceremoniously cuts off 22 speakers during public hearing

Speakers plead with Doug McCallum not to be disconnected but mayor reminds them to stay on topic

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
PHOTOS: Cloverdale hockey’s 2021 grads finally played a game after disappointing season

‘Hopefully this was the last time our Colts will have to be getting dressed and undressed in the parking lot’

Councillor Doug Elford. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Elford to join Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society as a director

Fellow Safe Surrey Coalition Councillors Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton will be re-appointed to the board

Fraser Health held a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib in Surrey on Friday, May 7, 2021. Roughly 400 people pre-registered to get their vaccine the week before. (File photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly COVID-19 cases drop below 200

BCCDC reports 172 new cases for the week of June 6 to 12

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Ridge Meadows RCMP seized drugs, cash and guns from a house on Lougheed Highway and 221 Street. (Special to The News)
RCMP seize drugs, cash and guns from Maple Ridge house

Items were recovered after search warrant executed on Lougheed Highway home June 11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fire near Highway 97 C close to Merritt. (Facebook)
Wildfire burning near Highway 97C

The fire is an estimated nine hectares in size

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

Most Read