After three long years of preparation hampered by the pandemic, the board and staff of the Kingston Humane Society (KHS) announced Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, that they will be opening a new low-cost spay-neuter clinic at the end of the month.
Gord Hunter, Executive Director of KHS, is pleased that the new clinic will help reduce the number of unwanted kittens in the area, like those found in a Kingston dumpster last month.
“To avoid unwanted pregnancies you must spay and neuter your pet cats,” he emphasized. “But It doesn’t matter, honestly, how many times I say it. It’s something that many people don’t consider.”
Hunter hopes that providing low-cost spay-neuter services will help break down the barrier for people who aren’t willing or able to pay for veterinary services. “I know that there’s a cost factor and also, right now finding a vet and getting an appointment, it’s really difficult. Vets are hard to come by and…. sometimes by the time you get an appointment, if you’ve let your cat outside, that cat is pregnant, or the male cat has impregnated another cat.”
Hunter firmly believes that cats are indoor pets and points to the overwhelming number of unwanted cats and kittens that come through the shelter as proof of why they should not be allowed to roam the streets.
Hunter further explained that this project could not have happened without the funding support of the City of Kingston. He especially lauded Councillor Lisa Osanic, saying that her efforts on behalf of KHS were phenomenal.
“She’s such a supporter of what we do with the Humane Society,” he expressed. “She really guided us on how we should present to City Council… They asked a few very pertinent questions, but supported us [in their January 18, 2022 meeting] and gave us $62,000 in funding which allowed us to buy a second surgery table, a second surgery light a second anesthesia machine among other critical items needed to efficiently operate the clinic. It also provided us with some funding for our team to get trained in high volume techniques.”
He also explained that high-volume feline spay and neuter training can only be obtained at the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance in Asheville, North Carolina. According to Hunter, they host a number of onsite training at their campus, so it will likely be late 2022 or early 2023 before the team can go to take that training together.
The KHS team’s veterinarian, Dr. Heather, was invited to attend early in October but the whole team needs the training in order to make the high-volume system work. Hunter said the process will then become effectively streamlined and efficient. “While Dr. Heather is doing a spay or neuter on one cat, the other cat is being prepared… So as soon as she’s done one, she cleans up, changes her gloves and they put another [cat who has been prepped for surgery] on the table… It is very efficient, and they teach you all kinds of very specific techniques.”
For now, beginning in August, the clinic will be able to do 10 spays or neuters a day, but once the high volume training takes place those numbers will increase to at least double that, he explained.
The clinic will be limited to spaying and neutering cats (no dogs or small animals at this time.)
Applications for one of the available spots will be accepted on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The first 10 applicants with a cat that qualifies will be accepted.
Cats are eligible for spay or neuter if they are:
- Healthy adult cats under the age of 8.
- Kittens that are at least 6 months old (>1kg).
- Female cats in heat.
Cats are NOT eligible for spay or neuter surgery if they are:
- Unhealthy or contagious cats.
- Receiving medications within the last two weeks (excluding antiparasitic medications).
- Very overweight or underweight.
- Under six months with retained testicles.
- Animals eight years of age and older.
- Short-faced cat breeds such as: Persian cats, Himalayan cats.
The KHS spay-neuter clinic will operate monthly on the last Thursday of the month and applications will normally be accepted on the first or second Tuesday of the month. The cost will be $125+HST, payable in advance.
Online applications and more information can be found at https://kingstonhumanesociety.ca/neuter-info and you can follow KHS on Facebook @kingstonhumanesociety, Twitter @KHSKingston, and Instagram @kingstonhumanesociety.