Yeah, after neutering 91 cats in three hours our fingers might’ve been on automatic––and every male in my vicinity in the immediate thereafter should’ve been on high alert––but we felt sooooo good. 

Sure, we could have neutered twice as many, but for our first event we did pretty darn good. Add an additional 120-plus spayed females and we were all on cloud nine. Spaying and neutering has its benefits...and not just for the individual cats, their future progeny and our community at large, but for all those who participated, too.

Here's a box of blades and testicles (in progress) as evidence of our good work:

Technicians, volunteers from the University of Miami pre-vet club and veterinarians united this past Sunday for an all-day spay-and-neuter-athon. We could’ve handled far more cases but it was our first event so we were cautious not to over-book. As it turned out, we should’ve booked at least twice as much––maybe more. God knows there were enough willing participants to make it happen. 

And that alone was worth celebrating. 

But it wasn’t without its downside. We had one cat succumb to an adverse anesthetic event. Considering his older, feral status and questionable health upon arrival, his death was a sadly unsurprising statistic among so many successes. Post-mortem is underway to determine his exact cause of death and we’re all mourning his loss in the interim. After all, one in 216 cats is NOT a welcome anesthetic risk. But we did our best. 

Despite the depressing loss, we plan on undertaking three more similar events this year. Not only are the cats undoubtedly available for such events, the people needed to take on these cases––even as early a seven AM on a Sunday––are not lacking in numbers or enthusiasm.

There are so many of us willing to take overpopulation to task. All it requires is organization and leadership, willingly supplied by a cohort of local organizations and dedicated individuals. (Thanks to the South Florida Veterinary Association, the South Florida Veterinary Medical Foundation, Miami-Dade County Animal Services and The Cat Network, we made it happen.) 

Here's (left to right) Dr. Marta Lista, Dr. Sara Pizano (Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services), myself and Dr. Maria Oliveiro posing for the cameras in the wake of the experience:


The same could be said of every community. But what’s yours doing to tackle the problem? Get motivated. Get ready. And arm yourselves appropriately. Low-cost and/or no-cost spays and neuters are doable on a large scale for a small price-tag if you know how to get things done. And God knows that’s what’s needed to curb the problem.

Here's where I beg you to volunteer to make an event happen. Offer your skills to your local SPCA, Humane Society or rescue group. If you haven’t the skills to participate in a technical capacity, help get the word out.

One more sterilized cat means hundreds less homeless, potentially euthanized animals. So...what do YOU do to get your community moving on this front? 


A timely corollary:

On this March 24th, the day Florida’s mandatory spay/neuter legislation goes to committee, some might read some irony into this post. But there’s no inconsistency for this opponent of HB 451. Low-cost and no-cost spays and neuters are the solution to both unwanted pets and the teeming populations of ferals in any given community. Mandating sterilization only drives the problem deeper underground. 

How many cat owners might have been dissuaded from bringing their personal cats to our Animal Services-related event had the spay/neuter law been in force? After all, about half of Sunday’s spays and neuters were owned and only a handful were less than four months old. 

It’s worth considering.