MT. RAINIER, Md., Feb. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Alley Cat Rescue, Inc. today announced the start of the Spring Spay Challenge, an annual event that brings veterinarians and communities together to save cats' lives. The group is asking veterinarians to get involved with trap-neuter-return (TNR) by pledging to provide low-cost or free spay/neuter and rabies vaccination to free-roaming cats in March, April, and May. Now in its tenth year, nearly 80,000 cats have been spayed or neutered by 1,400 participants as part of the season-long Challenge.
It's estimated that 860,000 cats are euthanized in U.S. shelters every year, many of whom are newborn kittens or unsocialized free-roaming cats. The two go hand in hand, as 80% of kittens entering shelters each year are born to these unsterilized outdoor cats. Both groups often require a significant investment of time and limited shelter resources before they're adoptable. The influx of kittens during the spring and summer months, also known as Kitten Season, stretches shelters to the breaking point, leading to euthanasia of healthy cats and kittens simply to make room for each day's new arrivals.
"It is a tragedy that 2,500 cats and kittens are killed every day in our shelters, places that are supposed to serve as a temporary sanctuary and refuge for cats in need," said Louise Holton, Alley Cat Rescue president and founder. "The best way to reduce the number of kittens flooding into shelters is by spaying and neutering outdoor, free-roaming cats. When the breeding cycle is stopped, unwanted kittens are never born, and the adult cat receives health benefits too."
Targeted TNR programs have been shown to significantly reduce shelter intake and euthanasia rates. Alley Cat Rescue's Cheap Fix program, which offers low-cost or free spay/neuter services to targeted zip codes in Maryland, led to a 22% reduction in cat intake and 18% reduction in cat euthanasia from those zip codes at the Prince George's County Animal Shelter in 2017.
"Veterinarians are the key to ending the unnecessary killing in our nation's shelters. A kitten should never be euthanized over a lack of space and a cat should never be killed simply because she isn't comfortable with people," Holton added.
To participate, vets sign-up at http://www.saveacat.org and pledge to provide free or low-cost spay/neuter services to at least two free-roaming cats for each week in March, April, and May. "The Spring Spay Challenge is a great entry point for veterinarians looking to gain experience with free-roaming cats and TNR," said ACR Operations Manager Denise Hilton. "Vets are free to decide how they meet the goal of two cats per week and our hope is that veterinarians will use the experience they gain during the Challenge to determine how to best integrate low-cost spay/neuter services into their everyday practice all year long. It's a great way to meet new clients too," Hilton said.
The Spring Spay Challenge begins March 1 and finishes on May 31. A list of participating veterinarians is available at http://www.saveacat.org/global-spay-challenge.html. Individuals can also visit the event page to invite their vet to participate.
SOURCE Alley Cat Rescue