Below are policies that we have established in order to clarify some of the issues trappers and clinic volunteers often face. Please read them carefully so that you understand what is needed to safely treat your colony of cats.
DEFINING THE ELIGIBILITY FOR OUR CLINICS
While we call our clinics “feral” clinics, we are keenly aware that many cats in a colony are not feral, but semi-feral or fully tame. Our clinics are held for any cat (feral, semi-feral or tame) that resides in a colony, is declared un-owned or abandoned and will be returned to the colony to be fed and managed indefinitely. These clinics are not for people’s pet cats. All cats coming through our clinics will be ear-tipped to identify them as belonging to a managed colony.
CATS MUST ARRIVE AT THE CLINIC IN A TRAP
Wire traps allow our anesthetists to safely “poke” the cat through the wire with the anesthesia drugs. All cats, whether truly feral or tame, are stressed and can bite or scratch. A bite or scratch from a cat initiates a process that requires quarantine of the cat for 10 days, boarding fees during quarantine, a bite report and potentially rabies shots for the volunteer. If you’ve trapped a cat in your colony that is friendly, please leave them in the trap for our clinics. You may bring carriers along for their recovery and we’ll transfer them to these after surgery. If you are absolutely unable to bring your cat in a trap, the only acceptable container would be a normal-sized cat carrier with a single (not two or three) cat. We will make every effort to anesthetize the cat through the carrier holes or dump the cat into a net for anesthesia. If we are unable to do this without undo stress to the cat or safety to us or the cat, we will not treat/alter the cat.
CATS BROUGHT TO THE CLINIC IN CARDBOARD CARRIERS, LARGE CAGES OR BOXES
Because the cardboard carrier, large cage or box does not allow needle access to the cat in any way, these cats will be turned away at the clinic.
“FASTING” PRIOR TO SURGERY
Once a cat has been trapped, the cat should not eat after midnight the night before surgery. Water may be provided. Cats that have eaten just prior to surgery can regurgitate food into their airways while under anesthesia. This can cause death. However, kittens under the age of 4 months should not have their food and water withheld for longer than 4 hours. You may leave food in the traps overnight and then remove it prior to bringing them to the clinic on Sunday morning.
CATS WITH UPPER RESPIRATORY DISEASES
Any cat or kitten displaying signs of URI will be evaluated by the Medical Director or a Tech. Cats and kittens with URI will be held until the end of the clinic to avoid any contamination and will be altered unless the Medical Director considers that the surgery might pose a risk to the cat.
SPAY/NEUTER WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS
Cats must weigh at least 3 pounds. Kittens generally weigh 3 pounds by about 3 months of age. If kittens are trapped that weight between 2 to 3 pounds and the caregiver intends to release the kittens back to the colony, we will alter and ear tip these kittens. If the caregiver intends to tame the kittens and re-home them, we will recommend that the caregiver wait until the kittens are 3 pounds and then evaluate the kittens’ level of tameness. If the kittens have not become tame and the caregiver must resort to release, they may bring the kittens to a later clinic for spay/neuter and ear tipping.
TAME KITTENS REMOVED FROM A COLONY
Any tame kittens that are removed from a colony and have been rehabilitated by the trapper or caregiver with the intention of re-homing are not eligible for the feral cat clinics. Tame kittens can be altered by new adopters at a Veterinary clinic of their choice prior to releasing them to the new owner. (Caregivers who adopt kittens should take the kitten to the new owner’s Vet for spay/neuter. The new owner can pick the kitten up from the Vet Clinic and pay the fees.)
TAME ADULT CATS BROUGHT TO THE CLINICS:
Any adult cat that has been trapped or removed from a colony of cats and is declared to be un-owned or free-roaming will be altered and ear-tipped. If the trapper or caregiver desires to attempt re-homing the cat, they may do so but the cat will be ear-tipped in case this plan is unsuccessful and the cat must be return to the colony.