On Jan. 17, 2018, the Dumb Friends League Solutions – Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic turns one year old. Created to meet the ambitious goal of dramatically impacting cat overpopulation in our community, the innovative cat clinic has performed 9,174 successful surgeries since it opened, including an impressive single-day record of 82 operations. This total includes 5,300 owned cats and 3,874 adoptable or feral, free-roaming cats.
Funded by the League, along with a generous three-year grant from the Animal Assistance Fund, PetSmart Charities® and the ASPCA, the cat clinic offers subsidized (no-cost) spay and neuter services for cats. It operates at 191 Yuma Street (W. 2nd Ave. and Yuma St.) and is staffed by a rotating corps of Dumb Friends League veterinarians.
According to Public Spay/Neuter Manager Sharon Thomas, “Patrons are very grateful for this service. Many would not be able to afford surgery or vaccines without us.” Anyone, regardless of income, can bring in a feral, owned, trap-neuter-return (TNR) or free-roaming community cat into the clinic for free spay/neuter surgery, along with free FVRCP and (age-appropriate) rabies vaccinations, if desired. Spayed or neutered feral cats are marked with an ear tip, in which the top ¼ of one ear is removed to make it obvious to trappers and colony caretakers which cats have already been altered. Owned female cats receive a small tattoo to indicate they have had the surgery.
For a small fee, cats may also receive a Feline leukemia (FeLV) vaccination, an FeLV/FIV combo test, or a microchip (at $25 for each service).
On a recent Friday, Solutions had 63 scheduled appointments and a group of 22 feral cats brought in by the cat rescue organization MetroCat.
“At first we really had to learn how to balance the patron demand with our resources,” says Thomas. “It was a bit of trial and error to determine the right number of surgeries that would maximize our team but not stretch them too far. But once the word was out, we just kept getting busier and the distance patrons came for this service kept increasing.” Patrons come from all over the state and some cat rescue organizations from as far away as Kansas and Wyoming.
The cat clinic has been so successful that, since Jan. 1, 2018, it has been open six days a week (it’s closed Mondays), from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Appointments can be made online at https://www.ddfl.orgcatclinic/. Cats must be dropped off between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and are ready to be discharged by 4:00 p.m.
Thomas says next year’s goal is to complete 10,000 surgeries. “We’ll continue to improve our processes and efficiencies to allow us to serve as many patrons and volume clients as possible, and ultimately affect real change in the health and overpopulation of cats in the state of Colorado.”
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