I had my topic picked out, the title cleverly fixed, the outline complete, and then…
I did a spay/neuter clinic. It was a two day event in Dorchester County this past weekend. Sponsored by Dr. Teri White of Tom Cat Solutions in Easton, four veterinarians spayed or castrated 140 cats. That was an impressive first time operation implemented by Dr White who saw a need in a community and responded to it. The feat she pulled off was so impressive, I just had to write about it. Dr White and her husband Tom have spearheaded Tom Cat Solutions for
five years and have a solid record of reducing the number of free roaming and abandoned cats, using TNR (trap/neuter/ release) techniques and adoption to good homes and barns.
This day, her goal was to spay or neuter as many feral cats as could be humanely trapped.
She enlisted the able help of Karen Culotta and Steve Vaughan as past and current owners of a 35-foot Winnebago which houses a mobile spay/neuter (S/N) clinic. Normally stationed in Ridgely, MD at the Caroline County Humane Society, the Winnie travels to communities in need. This weekend, it was parked at the Madison Volunteer Fire Company, about 12 miles southwest of Cambridge. The firehouse served as the staging area where a dozen local volunteers brought feral cats in Have-a-Heart traps, in preparation for their surgeries.
A skilled team of experienced technicians then weighed, anesthetized and prepped the cats for surgery. Transport personnel ferried the sleeping cats to the Winnie for their operations. Both ends of the RV accommodated the waiting surgeons. Myself, Dr. Kate Howard (of Spay Now in Grasonville) and Dr. Sharon Kaschenbach of Eldersberg operated on cats from morning til night. Then techs carried cats back into the firehouse to the comfort of their newspaper-lined cages. When fully awake, the ferals were returned to their colonies. Where they could breed no more!!
This massive S/N project went a long way to reducing the number of feral cats and drastically limited their ability to repopulate the peninsula surrounding the Little Choptank River and environs.
And here’s the important part: We can duplicate this in Kent County.
This admirable feat, so ably accomplished by Dr. White and her crew, has set the bar for the humane treatment of feral cats on the shore. The feral cat issue is one of concern for many of our residents. Towns like Betterton and Rock Hall have troublesome populations of ferals. Here in Kent, we already have a dedicated group of colony caregivers who tend to the cats in their areas. We have access to traps, and people can be taught to successfully trap cats in their locales. We need citizen support to drive trapped cats to the clinic site, folks to donate newspapers, cleaning supplies, organize a staging area where the Winnie can be parked and cooks to feed the hungry doctors! I am, of course, oversimplifying the magnitude of the work which must be done to conduct a successful feral clinic, but the astounding success of last week’s clinic proved it can be done.
Please contact me if you are interested in helping to facilitate a feral cat TNR project here in Kent County. And visit www. facebook.com/thevisitingvet for pictures of the Dorchester Clinic.