The Guildwood Village Community Association’s Communications Team has launched a special series called the Guildwood Village Community Hero, in which the GVCA on its social media will feature community volunteers and their work.
Sylvia Mittler is the founder of Guildwood Cat Relief and a true Guildwood Village Community Hero. Sylvia began rescuing cats on her own in 1983, when there were no programs for helping or controlling cat populations in the GTA. She worked alone to organize rescue activities such as trapping, spaying and neutering, vet care, rehabilitation, cleaning, feeding, and adoption. Sylvia eventually added another volunteer to her operation in 2009, and now has a team of three volunteers who have helped to grow Guildwood Cat Relief.
The mission of Guildwood Cat Relief is to care for, foster and, where possible, rehome abandoned, stray, sick or injured cats and kittens. Since it is not a charity and cannot solicit funds, it relies on adoption fees and donations to pay for food and medical costs. The small team focuses mainly on “hard-luck cases,” including abused cats, feral cats and senior cats, some of whom might otherwise be unadoptable. They spend time observing the behaviour and personality traits of every adoptable feline, in order to ensure the best possible human-feline match.
Sylvia is also committed to educating people about animal care issues, including the importance of spaying/neutering, how to provide the best available nutrition, how to care for outdoor colonies, and keeping cats safe indoors (unless they’re lucky enough to have a “catio,” courtesy of their adoring owners).
Sylvia wants Guildwoodians to consider helping out any way they can during while they’re stuck at home. “People should be on the lookout for a rise in dumped animals around their neighbourhood resulting from COVID-19-related financial issues, in addition to allergies, moves and other habitual reasons,” she says. “I wish we could help more, but rescue crucially means both intake AND outtake. Add to that the critical care in between. We’re resourceful and we try hard, but we can’t do it alone! Guildwood Cat Relief is small—we’re simply not unlimited in terms of space and money. We need people in the community to spread the word that we have wonderful kitties who need forever homes! If a home is approved, we’re happy to bring them there, complete with our care package of their favourite food.”
Sylvia has two other requests: First, the rescue needs foster homes for cats who find an environment with multiple pets too stressful, cats who need further socialization with humans, or simply cats who need to gain confidence and security. Second, she would love to have more volunteers to help with daily cat care, cleaning, driving for supplies, and helping with Guildwood Cat Relief’s crucial online presence, including its website and social media outlets.
In addition to rescuing cats, Sylvia has high hopes for our community’s relationship with all animals. She says, “Hopefully more people will understand the link between animals and our stewardship of the environment, and realize that it doesn’t take much to help all animals, wildlife included. Just a little thoughtfulness.”
If you are interested in fostering or adopting a cat, volunteering, or donating to Guildwood Cat Relief, you can reach them at:
If you’d like to nominate someone for this new series, send an email with the person’s name and description to firstname.lastname@example.org