Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Daily Drivel

Back in March...March 24 to be specific....the Daily Drivel took you to the dog spay/neuter clinic. Since then I've gotten 8 emails wondering why I either don't help at cat clinics or asking if there were clinics for cats. Well, here's your answer. YES - YES. I am definitely a glutton for punishment and have volunteered to be tortured at a number of cat spay/neuter clinics in my area. And here I am yet again doing another day of community service, voluntarily, nobody has a gun to my head. Guess I just can't give up veterinary medicine. It's in my blood. 

The Advocats group here in Hawaii is amazing, absolutely amazing. They arrange these totally free clinics (donations happily accepted) where cats are neutered, vaccinated, earmite treated, flea treated, dewormed, ear tipped, microchipped, plus whatever else the individual cat needs. The vast majority of cats are ferals, but owned cats are also welcomed. Often these cats are from colonies where some kind soul in the community is feeding them. 

My own contribution to this day's clinic is eleven feral kitties trapped down at the local dump. I saw at least six more there but I ran out of traps. So those extras will have to wait until, hopefully, another clinic is held. What's amazing is that when I arrived at the clinic, I discovered that another person trapped 21 more cats at the same location after I left with my haul! And they said they saw a half dozen more but that they had filled all their traps. So it seems that we have made a major dent in the cat reproduction pool at the dump, but the job isn't finished. 

I've located two more pockets of feral cats that need neutering, again future victims. Five in one colony and 12+ in the other. Regretfully some of the females are pregnant, so the number of cats will increase by the next clinic date. But all the neutering that has been going on is making a difference. I haven't seen ads for kittens on the local bulletin board of my town in over a year. 

How many cats are done in a day? Usually at least 100. The last clinic I worked we did 168! Today we had 101 cats brought in. Up in Kona yesterday they did 116. 

So what goes on? Here's the skinny -----

6:30 am - Volunteers have already been on site getting things ready. The floor is tarped. Newspapers spread. Tabletops protected with paper. Supplies lined up. Working stations set up. And breakfast snacks arrive. 

7 am - Technicians and all volunteers arrive and start setting up their stations.

7:30 - Cats start arriving, all in traps. That's a must. No cages. The vet tech has to be able to give an injection through the mesh trap. 99% of these cats are not handable. Traps get labels then are covered with towels. The towels give the cats privacy and calm them down. 

8 am - Veterinarian arrives. 

8 - 9:30 - All paperwork is filled out, worksheets arranged, equipment in place, cats labelled and organized, volunteers instructed as to their duties. 
(Cat being weighed after spaying. At each station down the table, the kitty has something done until it reaches the end, where it moves to recovery.)

9:30 - The action begins..............RIIIINNNNNGGGG ....AND THEY'RE OFF !!!! It's number one breaking from the trap first with number two close behind. Number three is moving to the table next.....oh yes, sorry, this isn't a horse race is it. But when the command to start is issued, it's only a matter of 30 seconds before the first six cats have had their anesthesia injections. The action is quick. 
(Kittens in ICU recovery. Kittens need to be closely monitored, kept warm, hydrated, and as they begin to wake up they get fed.) 

For the three hours everyone is focused on their task. Then thankfully there's a brief lunch break. Before long it's back to work. 
(Recovery cages.)

Today moved smoothly. We got done early. No problems. 

This little kitten woke up just fine. One of a litter of four, she still needs a home. 

It amazes me that at most of these feline spay/neuter clinics that 100+ cats are brought in. There's just that many cats out there that need neutering. The first few years the Advocats project didn't seem to be making any dent in the population problem, but now I can see a difference. It has taken a long time. But alas, every time a person just dumps an unneutered cat off, it just starts the cycle again. Two dumped cats find each other and wallah....more kittens. If the people would only not be so lazy and irresponsible. Geez, the spay/neuter is free for crimey. But there are always jerks around who just don't care, though they complain bitterly about feral cats. I know that for a fact because my mother's neighbor is one of them. What a jerk! 

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