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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Humane Society offers discount surgeries to help contain growth of cat population


    The number of stray cats checked into the Humane Society for Southwest Washington spikes to an average 700 to 900 every June, up from about 400 monthly during winter.

    A tidal surge of kittens is the difference, following a predictable mating season each spring.

    That’s why national Spay Day is an annual public outreach for America’s animal shelters, held the last Tuesday in February.

    But, today marks a much larger step for the east Vancouver shelter: It has launched a “”Spay and Save”” program to give low-income residents sharply discounted rates for spaying or neutering their own cats.

    On a two-tiered schedule, residents who receive public assistance — WIC, food stamps, Medicaid – may get their cat spayed or neutered with only a $10 co-payment. Those whose income is 80 percent or less of the local family median income (a single Clark County resident earning roughly $30,000 may qualify) can get their female cat spayed for $33, their male cat neutered for $49.

    That compares to the market rate of $100 to $150 charged by private veterinarians, said Lisa Feder, director of shelter operations at the Northeast 192nd Avenue facility.

    All owners who take up the opportunity must first call to schedule a surgery. (Cats are usually dropped off by 8 a.m. and picked up after 4 p.m. the same day.)

    For added motivation, those who act this week can enter a drawing for a $500 Fred Meyer gift card, Feder said.

    Opening the Humane Society’s surgery center for low-income cat owners has been a goal since before the new shelter was opened in July 2009.

    “”Cats are the biggest problem, that we chose to work on first,”” Feder said. Felines make up two-thirds of the daily shelter count, which is why there’s capacity for 300 cats and 150 dogs, she said.

    “”We specifically designed (the surgery center) to accommodate this program,”” she said.

    The Vancouver shelter has formally joined the Spay and Save Coalition that includes members of the Animal Alliance of the Portland Metro Area – or ASAP for short.

    “”This is absolutely the start of mating season. We’ll start to see kittens in May and June,”” Feder said.

    Two vets

    Spaying and neutering are the only shelter surgeries for privately owned animals allowed by Washington state law, she noted. The procedures are handled by private veterinariansTodd Gummer of Camas and Alison Lord of Portland, who each log two days per week at the shelter.

    Of course, they regularly spay and neuter many strays brought to the shelter, prior to adoption.

    The surgery center allows for “”high-volume, low-cost”” procedures, up to 30 per day, when open Tuesday through Friday each week, Feder said.

    “”We’ve always had cats spayed and neutered, but we’ve never been able to just open it up for members of the public to come in”” with their own pets, she said.

    There’s a separate Feral Cat Coalition to help obviously non-household felines, Feder said. The local contact number is 503-797-2606.

    Eventually, Feder would like the shelter to also offer services for low-income dog owners, she said.

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