Fixing Feral Felines
An article from the Garden Island Newspaper, by Jessica Else
LIHUE — The Kauai Humane Society is now offering feral cat surgeries six days a week, and the extra day is appreciated by the trap, neuter, release operations on the island.
“We’re just trying to help ease the burden on people,” said Penny Cistaro, Kauai Humane Society’s executive.
From Tuesday through Saturday the humane society does surgeries on cats from all backgrounds. Mondays are now set aside exclusively for feral cats. That opens up every day of the week except Sundays for spaying or neutering at the humane society.
Drop-off time is between 8-9 a.m., pick-up is between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Appointments are not necessary. Cost is $25 per cat — $15 for the surgery and $10 for the accompanying microchip. All cats that go through surgery at the Kauai Humane Society are ear-tipped as well.
“We tip the left ear for the male and the right ear for the female,” Cistaro said. “So we know by looking at the cat that it’s already been spayed or neutered.”
Cistaro said depending on the mix of cats that are brought in, she’s anticipating the humane society could complete 15-20 surgeries every Monday. She explained the surgeries on male cats are relatively simple, but spaying female cats requires open abdominal surgery, which is more time-consuming.
Due to space limitations, the Kauai Humane Society has a limit of dropping off five cats per person at a time.
Martha Girdany, vice president of Kauai Community Cat Project, said it is helpful to have another day for surgeries at Kauai Humane Society because in some ways, trapping, neutering and releasing feral cats could be compared to herding them.
“It’s a whole machine of stuff and there’s a lot of logistics here,” Girdany said. “A lot of it is on a case-by-case basis and we don’t trap every day.”
Girdany said the organization has three different places they take the feral cats for medical attention — the Kauai Humane Society — which only does spaying and neutering, Kapaa Animal Clinic, and the Paradise Clinic in Kalaheo.
She said KCCP checks weekly with the Kauai Humane Society to see when their veterinarian will be available, and then coordinates with the people who do cat trapping all over the island.
“You trap the night before and then the cats are held overnight because they’re having surgery,” Girdany said. “And then usually we hold on to them for at least a day afterward.”
KCCP also evaluates the cats they catch for any additional medical issues and then decides where to take them. If further medical needs have to be addressed, usually KCCP will take the cats to one of the other veterinarians.
“The humane society is good at what they do, but they can’t get a lot of other things (besides spaying and neutering) done there,” Girdany said. “It’s a question of what is the best thing to do for the cats.”