Cat spay/neuter event treats 103 felines

Published 8:25 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Most unfortunately, Beaufort County has a huge number of homeless cats. Many of them hang around in groups, called colonies, often near restaurants and gas stations. Here and there are kind hearted people who put out water dishes and bowls of food. These cats certainly are a part of rodent control, but as many of them were simply “dumped”, they surely did not ask to be there.

On the weekend of June 29, the Humane Society of Beaufort County, in coalition with Paws & Love, Feline Outreach of Beaufort County and Beaufort County Animal Control, had a great spay/neuter event. Dr. Marty Poffenberger managed to have the North Carolina State University Veterinary School bring their mobile hospital unit to Washington to do nothing but spay, neuter and vaccinate as many feral/homeless cats as possible.

They arrived Thursday evening, June 29 and were treated to Frank’s pizzas for dinner. By 7:30 a.m. on Friday, we already had an overwhelming number of cats in traps waiting for surgery and by day’s end. There was a total of 54. The professors and students had expected to operate on 25 each day, but as there were so many more, they continued well past normal times and did not get done until 8:30 p.m.

Carryout by Chrislyn donated lunch wraps and a big dish of cut up fresh fruit. The volunteers were treated to dinner by Coalition volunteers. Two more students arrived to help the next two days.

Early Saturday morning ,the group was back and once again, already there were many cats in traps waiting. Lunch that day was provided by Subway and dinner was a hamburger and hot dog cookout courtesy of volunteers and the Humane Society.

As our visitors needed to drive back to Raleigh, we tried to reduce the number of cats coming in to the requested 25 but ended up with 29 and everyone was taken care of. Although the visitors had planned to head back home that afternoon, they finished the job later than they had hoped and were treated to one more meal by the volunteers.

On Sunday, when it still was so brutally hot, the lady who lives next door to where all this was going on, arrived with a big bag of ice, three half gallons of iced tea and slices of fresh lemon, once again proving what a very hospitable community this is. When all was done, we were thrilled to have 103 cats who no longer will be reproducing and contributing to the over population. It was a joy to see this wonderful group of veterinary students with such a terrific work ethic to work non-stop from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m..

The Humane Society works tirelessly to help with spaying and neutering, and every February all three veterinary hospitals offer reduced rate spaying and neutering. Throughout the year, additional help is available through a national organization called Friends of Animals.

They have a web site, or phone 1-800-321-7387 and they will provide certificates for under $100 that are accepted as full payment for the surgery by a number of veterinary hospitals. In addition to the greatest benefit of not being able to further re-produce, any animal so “fixed” will live a much healthier life.

In checking on some of the research done on reproductive numbers, a cat can produce one to two litters (sometimes three) per year with an average of four kittens. There were 54 females in our project. Based on averages, these females could be producing 216 kittens twice a year. There is absolutely no telling how many kittens the 49 males could be responsible for as cats most definitely do not mate for life, but will impregnate however many females in heat they come across.

The newly formed coalition is passionately continuing its work of trying to reduce the number of unwanted cats. It would be most welcome if the community would join our efforts in getting their own cats spayed or neutered. The above-mentioned organization certainly makes it a very reasonable thing to do.

Margaret Petersen is an animal lover and a member of the Humane Society of Beaufort County.