Take two cats plus their offspring, add five years and you come up with 11,801 cats and kittens.
Napa Humane and Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR) are seeking to stop the birth of those unwanted kittens this month before the weather heats up and “kitten season” begins.
The two groups are offering free spay and neuter surgeries for any cat, male or female, as long as their owners can get them to Napa Humane’s low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, 3265 California Boulevard, just off Trancas Street in Napa.
The aim of the collaboration is to have fewer unwanted kittens going into the Napa County Animal Rescue Shelter; to stem the tide of unwanted births; to bring down euthanasia rates and to end suffering of animals that just don’t make it.
Every year animal shelters and rescues across the county are flooded with kittens in the spring after the weather heats up and cats go into heat, said Wendi Piscia, executive director for Napa Humane. “Our goal is to reduce the number of kittens being born,” she said. “By providing free spay/neuter for anyone with a cat, we hope to have an impact on the number of kittens being born without homes to go to.”
Monica Stevens, co-founder of Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch, said JARR will pay for spay/neuter services for 200 cats, whether they are in a family or if the cat is part of a feral community. “There are so many people in the Napa Valley who take care of community cats, and it’s open to any cat. As a rescue, there are only so many animals we can rescue. The bigger solution worldwide is providing spay and neuter services so we stem the tide of overpopulation.”
Piscia said in the first week of the program, they had 50 cats on the schedule and added “calls are coming in regularly.” As of Monday, Napa Humane has spayed or neutered 100 cats.
Cost at the low-cost clinic are $45 for a male cat and $55 for a female cat and Piscia said, “If you can afford to pay that, great, then bring your cat in. Ideally, we would like the service to go to individuals who need the help financially.”
Of course, if you’re feeding a colony of 10 feral cats, that gets a little expensive, she adds. “This is a perfect opportunity for individuals to take advantage of having their cats spayed and neutered. Jameson has removed the financial barriers.”
JARR’s offer includes cats in the surrounding, collar counties, including Lake, Sonoma, Solano and Mendocino, as long as Napa Humane can provide an appointment. To get that appointment is simple, call the clinic at 707-252-7442. Stevens said, “We would really love to have a zero population of cat growth in Napa County.”
The process of spaying or neutering a feline is “a very routine surgery but a very important one,” Piscia said. “At Napa Humane, we have a veterinarian do all the surgeries and last year we did over 4,300 surgeries – it is what we do. All day, every day.”
The clinic is open Monday through Friday and Piscia said they can do 19 surgeries in a day. To spay a female dog takes 30 minutes, which takes the most time. In contrast, it takes five minutes to neuter a male cat. Kittens are eligible for surgery when they are 8 to 10 weeks old and 2 pounds. In the summer, the clinic staff can do 25 to 30 surgeries a day, because they are operating mostly on cats.
Piscia has been with Napa Humane for 12 years and has been executive director for the past year. The collaboration between Napa Humane and JARR is exciting, Piscia said, adding, “I’m thrilled with this program, this is what we’ve been working toward.” She said she is passionate about the work she does, helping animals and added, “I feel blessed to lead Napa Humane.”
Stevens, too, is thrilled with the relationship, saying, “We send most of our animals there for spay and neuter, to keep our adoption costs down. Our goal is to get these wonderful creatures into beautiful homes.”