With more than 30 states placing nonessential vet visits on an indefinite hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, sterilizations and vaccines are also included under this restriction. While spaying or neutering is an important preventative measure, it’s not considered essential at this time. This puts unsterilized feral and stray female cats at high risk for becoming pregnant and giving birth to even more litters on the street. To make matters worse, this is occurring at the height of kitten season, which is the time of year where it becomes warmer and more mother cats become pregnant and give birth. Normally, shelters are filled with kittens at this time, but with most shelters closed, these kittens and their mothers are left to fend for themselves on the streets.
Similarly, TNR operations have decreased substantially, with only a few vets performing spay/neuters by appointment only. Furthermore, rescues who pull animals from shelters are now unable to have animals cleared by a vet before taking them in and may have to pay a higher cost to get them checked through other veterinarians, if they are able to make appointments. These factors mean that TNR organizations like ACR will have to play a major game of catch up once this pandemic comes to an end. With the number of kittens on the rise during kitten season, ACR will face an uphill battle trapping, sterilizing and vaccinating this surplus of new kittens, as well as their mothers. Similarly, while admirable, the outpouring of individuals fostering and adopting cats during quarantine has freed up space in shelters, but adoption agencies are often unable to spay/neuter cats and kittens before adopting or fostering. While this is not ideal, there is an agreement between the foster/adopter to have the cats sterilized once vet services return to normal.
In order to reach its goal of managing community cat colonies and practicing as much TNR as possible, ACR will rely heavily on generous donations from its supporters. At the same time, ACR is very cognizant that for many, money is very tight right now and that a lot of organizations are looking for philanthropy to get through this crisis. However, ACR hopes you understand the terrible effect this pandemic has had on TNR to get cats and kittens off the streets and prevent mother cats from becoming pregnant and giving birth in years to come.
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.