One local agency has begun a new spay/neuter program which aims to help low income citizens with cats.
“Last year we ran a spay/neuter program for Red Deer County, called the Rural Cat Roundup. This project was funded with $26,000 from Petsmart Charities and we were able to fix 229 rural-living cats,” said Amy Lockhart, president of the board for Whisker Rescue. “It was wonderful – the outpouring of support from our local veterinarians was unbelievable. The citizens who took part were compassionate, hard-working farm and acreage owners who wanted the best for all animals on their property. It was one of the most rewarding projects I have ever worked on.”
She added this year Whisker Rescue wanted to focus on helping citizens living within the City of Red Deer and recently launched the Caring About Low Income Cat Owners (CALICO) program.
“The CALICO spay/neuter project is partially funded by a grant from the Red Deer and District Community Foundation. Essentially four parties will come together to share in the total costs including the Central Animal Clinic, Whisker Rescue, the Red Deer and District Community Foundation, and the cat owners. It is a new project for Whisker Rescue. We started accepting applications November 1st and plan to start sending cats in for surgery in December, January and February,” said Lockhart. “The response has been quite good already. The project has not had any media attention yet, and we already have applications coming in on a daily basis. The project will be on a first come – first served basis so those in need should apply right away.”
She added Whisker Rescue believes that spay/neuter projects are essential to rescue work.
“Every summer we are flooded with emails asking for help with stray cats and kittens. The problem is out of control. There are simply too many cats for our local rescues and animal controls to keep up. We are all overwhelmed and struggling to handle the never-ending numbers of cats and kittens in need. Research shows the only way we will ever see a solution to this problem is by spaying/neutering,” said Lockhart.
To apply for the program, applicants can fill out a form and declare that they are living as a low income resident of Red Deer (making less than $35,000 per year). Forms can be picked up at Central Animal Clinic or found online at www.whiskerrescue.com. Forms can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to P.O. Box 27138, Red Deer, T4N 6X8.
The cost to each approved applicant is $45 per cat. And the goal of the program is to spay/neuter 100 cats under the project. Applications will be accepted until Whisker Rescue reaches that total.
Donations towards the CALICO program are accepted and can be made through PayPal on Whisker Rescue’s web site.
“We would love to be able to fix more than 100 cats,” said Lockhart. “As funds allow, we will continue to plan more spay/neuter projects. We are constantly applying for grants to support these initiatives. We are so thankful to the Red Deer and District Community Foundation and are always looking for other options to help with funding.”