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Spay Day helps nearly 100 cats

PetsMart’s parking lot was filled with furry feline friends during 9 Lives Cat Rescue’s Spay Day event Saturday morning.

Nearly 100 cats were dropped off with 9 Lives volunteers, who filled an entire U-Haul moving van with kennels and crates before transporting them to Bottletree Animal Hospital to be spayed and neutered.

Natascha Techen, who runs the shelter, says the event was designed to give people an affordable way to get their pets fixed and reduce the feline population.

“I’m really excited that so many people want to get their pets spayed and neutered, and hopefully it will make an impact,” Techen said. “We strive to get the community to spay and neuter their cats, because the cost of spaying and neutering is almost the same cost as having them euthanized. It makes a difference in their pet’s lives and the cat population.”

Pet owners were asked to make a donation of $20 when dropping off their pets, almost 70 percent less than the average cost to spay or neuter an animal. Many people brought in rescue cats, including Oxford resident Jimmy Yancey.

“We’ve gotten around seven cats from 9 Lives,” Yancey said. “They had an issue where no one would take their black cats, so we brought them home to the farm. They’re mousers and they’re our buddies.”

Around 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because they do not have homes. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

9 Lives volunteer Connie Parham says she and the other volunteers are doing all they can to put a dent in the problem right at home.

“We love animals, and we think this problem is sufficient to wake up at all hours to solve it,” she said. “People with multiple cats can’t afford to pay $125 per cat. [Those cats] are not getting fixed, and it’s not from lack of good intention.”

Once the cats arrived at Bottletree Animal Hospital, the real work began. Staff members and volunteers brought all the animals inside, comforting those who were distraught from the car ride and helping to prepare them for surgery.

The Bottletree staff worked from 8 a.m. to around 5 p.m., providing each animal with post-operative care and making sure they had a calm environment in which to recover. Veterinarians Apryl Garcia, John Shin and Desiree Cooley, who traveled from Starkville, volunteered their time, along with many others.

Garcia says events like Spay Day are a way to prevent unplanned litters and bring the feline population to a manageable rate.

“Last year we did 42 animals, and this year, we’ve more than doubled that,” she said. “I get a lot from clients who are fixed income and can’t afford to spay and neuter. I want people to know these programs are out there.”