Chances are you have seen a feral cat or 12 on Maui. MauiTime reported on the problem of the island’s wild cats back in November 2009. Since then the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) formed a chapter here as an all-volunteer non-profit player in the homeless pets issue on the the Valley Isle. SPCA Maui’s goal is dedicated to “no more homeless pets” on Maui and ending the killing of companion animals as a means to population control. It is a lofty goal, though within a year of forming they have just accomplished a marathon of fixing felines: 178 cats in eight hours.
Whitney White, SPCA Maui’s president, says their focus right now is on providing affordable accessible spay/neuter services with regard to ability to pay and they have a S/N Assistance Program (SNAP) that partners with local veterinarians.
“Our immediate goal is to raise enough funds so that all we can provide spay/neuter to services to all who ask for our assistance,” says White. “We are also working to raise $200,000 to acquire, staff and maintain a mobile spay/neuter facility that can help reach communities like Hana and Kahakaloa or even Lanai or Molokai.”
Their recent efforts to spay/neuter the 178 cats was a joint effort with the Maui Humane Society and and the Feline Foundation. With help from Maui Humane Society staff and more than 20 volunteers from SPCA and the Feline Foundation, tents and tables were set up and the cats were registered and checked in for surgery. Members from the community came from as far away as Hana to utilize the much needed services.
“The expression herding cats is appropriate,” was how White described the efforts to coordinate a mass spay/neuter event. “Many hours go in to preparation, scheduling, promoting, with many more hours dedicated to trapping and returning community or feral cats. Hundreds of hours volunteer hours go in to events like this one though every spay/neuter clinic gets easier, more affordable, and requires less volunteer hours.”
The surgeries were performed by Dr. Hatt, a Hawaii-based and licensed veterinarian. Hatt’s team worked with precision in MHS’s conference room with stations for examination, sedation and pre-surgical prep. All cats received a tattoo for identification. Additionally, the feral cats received a small identifying notch in the ear. After surgery caring volunteers monitored the recovery.
Just a few hours after surgery, caretakers and owners were contacted and began returning to pick-up their newly fixed cats. Any feral cats were registered as part of Feline Foundation’s Trap/Neuter/Return Management program and were returned to the location where they were trapped, to (hopefully) live out their lives as healthy, non-reproducing animals.
The SPCA wants to create a mobile spay neuter facility and a “no-kill” sanctuary. In the mean time, all funds will go directly to spay/neuter services and education. The SPCA supports the work of Maui’s other animal non-profits and hopes everyone can work together to create alternatives to the killing of animals for population control.
“Fund raising in these tough times is always a challenge,” says White. “Raising funds for spay and neuter can be tougher than raising money for a shelter because we are trying to prevent litters of those cute puppies and kittens, not find them homes. Although we know that spay/neuter is the only way to ‘fix’ our pet over-population problem and stop the killing, it just isn’t that warm and fuzzy.”
For information contact:
Feline Foundation of Maui T/N/R/M program 891-1181 www.mauicats.com
Maui Humane Society affordable spay/neuter(SNARP program) 877-3616 www.mauihumanesociety.org