By MYRON LOVE Healthcare worker Marnie Singer loves what she does. The nursing home worker says that she really enjoys working with seniors.
“I work at a smaller nursing home,” she notes. “We have a great team of workers with low turnover and we thankfully have had no Covid cases among our residents.”
While Singer has been working full time as a healthcare worker for the past 17 years, in more recent years, she has take on a second full time task – a labour of love – trying to keeps cats in Winnipeg and the surrounding area safe and cared for. Six years ago, she founded Winnipeg Missing and Found Cat Watch – after one of her own cats went missing for two months – to try to reunite missing cats with their owners. Cat Watch currently has more than 25,000 followers and serves all of Manitoba.
In an interview that was published in the January 6 edition of the Times – a weekly newspaper that serves north Winnipeg – she recalled that when her cat went missing, she swore that if she was fortunate enough to find the cat, she would help other cat owners in similar circumstances.
Surprisingly, Singer herself is still a relatively recent pet owner. Growing up in Garden City, the daughter of Herb and Myrna Singer never had any pets. “While I have always loved animals, my parents weren’t pet people,” she says.
Following graduation from Garden City Collegiate (class of 1990) and training in healthcare at Winnipeg Technical College, she moved to Halifax. After six years in the Maritimes, Singer moved back to Winnipeg to be closer to family.
(She notes that she arrived back in Winnipeg on September 10, 2001.)
“I was living alone in Osborne Village and thought that I would like to adopt a cat,” she recalls. “I adopted my first cat, Freddy, from The Winnipeg Humane Society on Kent Road.”
It was in 2011 that a second cat went missing for a short time and Singer, on recovering her cat, was spurred to take action to help other cat owners with missing cats.
The growth of her Facebook page, Winnipeg Missing and Found Cat Watch, she says, has been largely by word of mouth and Facebook exposure. She notes that she also works closely with the Winnipeg Humane Society.
She adds that she is sad that Javier Schwersensky (who was profiled in The Jewish Post & News in the fall of 2015) has stepped down as CEO (as of the beginning of the year). “Javier was a great CEO,” Singer says. “He helped me a lot – frequently referred people who were missing cats or found stray cats to visit my Facebook page and sharing my neighbourhood pages.”
On her Facebook page, Singer – who currently has two cats and a dog of her own – also tries to educate cat owners. She encourages people to keep their cats indoors as much as possible and, if the cats do go outside frequently, to have them spayed and neutered. She also shares ideas on keeping cats entertained indoors and regularly reminds cat owners to keep cat tattoos and microchip contact information up to date, so that if you move or change your phone number, you have a better chance of being reunited with your pet, should it go missing.
And, if you have a stray cat coming around, especially at this time of year, she encourages you to bring it indoors, try to find the owner by putting up posters and talking to neighbours or take it to a shelter.
Singer reports that she spends up to eight hours a day updating her Facebook page. While she does not seek donations, she does appreciate the help that some Facebook friends have offered.
“This is my baby,” she says. “I love what I am doing. I don’t want any cat to go missing.”
She invites readers who are interested in helping just to join her Facebook page and spread the word. “The more people involved,” she notes, “the better the chances of finding a missing cat.”