By Kaley Kaczynski, Clinic Services Coordinator
Some days it may seem like our Clinic & Community Services administrative team simply answers questions and schedules spay/neuter appointments. The truth is, our incredibly dedicated staff takes each and every call to heart – especially those from pet owners who simply have nowhere else to go. And, we are grateful for the partnerships that we have formed within our community that allow us to create lifesaving solutions for the people and animals who need them most.
Recently, a woman called us seeking help with some community cats that she feeds behind her house. She was in tears and could hardly catch her breath over the phone. These cats meant the world to her and for the past year she had cared for them as if they were her own pets. Recently, a neighbor called Animal Control claiming that the cats were a nuisance. The woman was is in her late 70s, wheelchair bound and was going through cancer treatment. She knew that because the cats were feral, they would likely never be family pets. Because she did not have the ability to set traps for the cats and drive them to a clinic for spay/neuter surgery, she was desperate for help.
After a very emotional conversation, our staff got in touch with one of our partners that performs Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (TNVR) for community cats. With their help, the cats received the medical attention they need to safely remain outdoors, where they could live their happiest lives. And, if any of the cats appeared to be social and friendly, they could be admitted to Animal Friends so they could find homes of their own!
TNVR has been the most effective way to humanely manage the community cat population in our region. Although we cannot offer trapping assistance for clients at Animal Friends, we do offer some helpful services for caregivers including humane box trap rentals and spay/neuter surgery appointments. We also offer a low-cost surgery package for feral cats which includes a spay/neuter surgery, rabies & FVRCP vaccines, flea treatment and an ear tip.
Animal Friends also partners with the City of Pittsburgh Animal Care and Control to offer community cat surgeries through their free spay/neuter program each year.
For more information on caring for community cats contact our Clinic Services team at ClinicServices@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org or 412.847.7004.