Here at Sunrise Animal Hospital we strive to do as much as possible for our community. One of the things we look forward to are our Feral Cat Spay/Neuter clinics. Run by our staff volunteering their time, these clinics help control the feral cat population by preventing kittens being born outside where they are exposed to our harsh winters. We do these clinics bi-annually and aim to do approximately 50 cats per clinic. This fall’s clinic, due to the overwhelming influx in population of feral cats, 76 cats were trapped and fixed.
I’m sure you’re wondering how there’s always such a high demand for feral cat clinics? Unfortunately, many feral cats do not start out that way. A colony normally begins with a few stray pet cats who are abandoned, they flock to a warm barn or area where they can find scraps and shelter. These cats reproduce at an alarming rate, a single female cat can have two litters a year with as many as 12 kittens in a litter. Sadly many of these kittens may not survive into adulthood but the ones that do end up reproducing. Within a year, a small population of a single colony can explode making it extremely difficult to sustain without the cats becoming sick and malnourished. The most effective and humane way to take care of feral cats is to spay/neuter them, ear tip them (a process of identification) and allow them to live out their lives in their colony. Many colonies have caretakers who feed and provide them with shelter. This keeps them happier as many truly feral cats are extremely difficult to socialize and home (they are not the same as stray cats who are still open to a relationship with humans).
Our work here may just be a drop in the ocean but together with our local rescues, we’ve managed to Spay/Neuter around 350 cats since the inception of this project in 2013. If you do own a cat, please seriously consider spaying and neutering them. Your unfixed male cat may not come home one day with a litter of kittens but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t fathered any! The only sure way to protect kittens from being born in the harsh outdoor weather is to spay and neuter your cats.
Check out the pictures from this fall’s clinic below!