”I feel so sorry for you guys, it’s just out of control,” she replied sadly. And she was right. Our conversation about trying to find homes for half-starved cats was but one of many calls. Same problem, different cats. Kitten season will soon be in full swing and more desperate people will be calling to find homes for unwanted kittens than there will be people calling for help to spay or neuter the mothers, which would at least prevent the next litter.
We are told regularly that we can’t make a difference. They say the cats we spay or neuter aren’t but a ‘drop in the bucket’. While some days that bucket may seem bigger or deeper than other days, overall, we believe we are making a difference in the lives of the cats and people that we have been able to help.
Remember the story of the starfish? A passer-by on the beach asked a boy why he was throwing starfish back into the ocean. The child explained that without water they would not survive until the next tide came in, so he threw starfish back out into the ocean to save their lives. The passer-by chuckled and told him there were so many starfish that he couldn’t begin to make a difference. As the boy threw another starfish back into the safety of the water, he said, “It makes a difference to THIS starfish”!
The story of the starfish can just as easily be applied to our local cats. Maybe there are so many that we’ll never save them all. But the saddest part of the story on a local level is the reality that we could save more if we could just convince more people to pull their own weight and be responsible for their own pets. In other words, our people problem is larger then our unwanted pet problem.
Please, don’t be silent. Don’t ignore that starfish because you can’t save them all. You can help those creatures who cannot speak for themselves by educating and/or by helping their owners. Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to spay or neuter their pets. We don’t need a beach to see the connection between the starfish story and the tide of stranded cats and dogs in need of rescue. You can make a difference in a life miles from the coast!
Contact the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary (509) 684-1475 to adopt a dog or a cat. While it’s true that some animals were relinquished because they didn’t fit in with their previous family, they may be the perfect fit for yours. Some animals are waiting at the Sanctuary for a new home because their elderly owner passed away. Other dogs or cats were abandoned when their owners moved away, left tied in the backyard or dumped on a county road. Some were relinquished and some abandoned due to medical issues the owners didn’t understand, couldn’t afford, or didn’t have the stomach to deal with.
Sadly, the Sanctuary is the only safety net available for some of these animals. And with no funding sources except the kindness of those who send gifts of money, pet food, (and paper towels, Clorox, blankets, collars, leashes, laundry soap, kitty litter) and one of the most important gifts of all, their time! Volunteers are desperately needed, not only to clean litter boxes, but to work with the dogs, to transport animals to appointments, answer phones, do computer work, help with fund raising, the list never ends! If you are low income and need your cats fixed, call Stevens County Cat Care at (509) 935-MEOW (6369) to make reservations to have your cat spay/neutered.
At any Stevens County Cat Care clinic, between 4 and 7 veterinarians give up one Sunday a month to work together in VFW’s or other community centers to help curb our county’s cat over population, fixing as many as 200 cats in one day. Generous donations from local animal lovers have made it possible for the group to be able to offer their services most reasonably at $14.00 for females and $8.00 for males. Each cat also receives a free 3-way vaccination, and ear mite treatment if needed. All females also automatically receive a free long acting pain shot to help with pain for approximately 2 days after surgery. Kittens can be spay/neutered as young as 2 months, or 2 pounds. Pregnant cats, as well as cats in heat, can be fixed at no extra cost.
In addition to the already low cost spay/neuters, the group is also currently offering a special rate for whole litters of kittens. Bring in the mom with her whole litter before finding them homes and the mother cat will be fixed for free and all the kittens done for half price! This would mean a mother cat with 4 kittens (2 males and 2 females) could all be fixed and vaccinated for a total of $22.00!
Stevens County Cat Care has spay/neutered over 11,500 cats in the last ten years with their one Sunday a month mobile clinics. Because of the popularity of the program, clinics are currently usually full a month or two in advance. Kitten season is coming soon. To prevent a litter at your house, call now to reserve space at an upcoming clinic near you or to get your name on the waiting list. Because everyone in the organization is a volunteer except for the veterinarians and the veterinary technicians, please don’t worry if your phone call is not returned right away. Just leave your name and number on the message line at (509) 935-MEOW (6369) and someone will return your call.
Written by: Linda Spurlin
Volunteer for Stevens County Cat Care and the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary