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About us

Why, "The Cats of Paint Lake", you may wonder? Well, that's because a little log cabin on Paint Lake, near Dorset Ontario, is where the rescue first started feeding and caring for feral cats.


What began as simply feeding and providing shelter for a few feral cats around our home, has grown into a full scale rescue operation. The Cats of Paint Lake was founded to address the problem of an exploding population of stray and feral cats and kittens in our region. It started with a little tabby that we dubbed "MamaCat". Her story is told more fully in this blog post.

We now serve the regions of Muskoka and Haliburton Highlands, and beyond, as resources permit. We work with other rescue organizations such as PAWS Canada, Minden Cat Angels, Cat's Cradle, Feline Fix, as well as several SPCA's and the North Bay Humane Society.

The Cats of Paint Lake is grateful for funding received through the Haliburton County Development Corporation's Local Initiatives Program 2021-22. 

What We Do

It is our goal to remove stray and feral cats from the reproductive cycle, assess each animal's needs, both medical and social, and determine the best place for that cat. Each cat will be spayed or neutered and receive other necessary veterinary care, and then either be rehabilitated, socialized and rehomed, or placed in an appropriate setting where they can live out their lives being fed and cared for, loved and safe and warm.

Most formerly feral cats can make wonderful pets, given love and patience. It is our intention to provide as many cats as possible with loving homes. We take in some of the most challenging ferals, and help them to "come down off the ledge" of fear and constant threat, food insecurity and deprivation, and start them down the path to socialization. Many of them come to us traumatized and fearful. With patience and love, feral cats can learn to trust humans to care for them, and learn to live peacefully and contentedly as indoor cats. 

We have found, to our surprise, that the feral cats we have taken indoors for a period of time, often have no interest in returning to the outdoor life. They know what is out there, and how hard it can be to survive, and they are glad to leave it behind.

Mommy Cat4.jpg


an old friend of ours


Who We Are

Heather Deveaux is the founder of The Cats of Paint Lake. She has been a lifetime animal lover and 'cat whisperer', who has lived with cats her entire adult life. She has adopted rescued ferals, raised and bottle-fed kittens from infancy, and helped much loved cats through infirmity and end-of-life care, several of those into their 22nd or 23rd year of life.

She has lived and worked in the Haliburton Highlands and Muskoka regions for 30 years, and has a range of experience in business management, including not-for-profit and volunteer work, hospitality and tourism, and self-employment. 

Kyal Smith has lived and worked in the Dorset area since 2001. He was the first to notice stray cats around the cabin, and started to do what he could to help them. The cats respond to his voice and touch.

He is also an experienced forester and animal trapper, and though he no longer traps animals other than cats, his expertise and knowledge of the wild spaces is vital to our work.  


Together they are building a community of compassionate people who want to work to bring awareness to and improve the lives of stray and feral cats in Muskoka, Haliburton and beyond. 

How can you help?

There are many ways that our community, near and far, can help out:

  • Watch for cats and cat tracks around your home, cottage or business. Report your sightings to us so we can trap cats and help them.

  • Volunteer some valuable time and/or expertise.

  • Foster cats or kittens in your home.

  • Donations of food, toys, or financial contributions toward the never-ending veterinary expenses are always gratefully accepted! 

  • Learn about feral cats.

  • Spread the word!

Winter Feeding.jpg

A simple feeding station, with heated water supply to prevent freezing, and protection from the elements.

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