By MARGIE NETZEL - email@example.com
KINGSVILLE TOWNSHIP —
The cats at the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League shelter peer out of their cages as strangers stroll by and peer in.
With nearly 80 cats at the shelter at any given time, a prospective adopter can find a friend in any size, age, fur color and personality.
The boon of homeless animals — both cats and dogs — is largely the result of irresponsible pet owners and people who allow strays to breed into overpopulation, APL board vice president Irene Fiala said.
To combat the rising numbers, PetFix Northeast Ohio will offer $20 spay surgeries for cats in Ashtabula, Lake and Portage counties in February.
The nonprofit PetFix mobile clinic has altered more than 26,000 cats and dogs since 2006.
“We want to ‘beat the heat,’” said PetFix founder Timy Sullivan. “The goal is to prevent the births of unwanted kittens by spaying female cats now, before they go into heat.”
Fiala said the offer comes just before the crucial “kitten season,” when the shelter is typically bombarded with litters and litters of kittens.
"Only by spaying and neutering will shelter overcrowding be put to an end,” Fiala said. “We at the APL have known that spay/neuter is the key to controlling the population and reducing the number of homeless pets in Ashtabula County.”
PetFix executive director Leah Kubiak said female cats can have as many as three litters a year.
“And they can breed as young as four months of age,” she said. “Most people don’t want to see their cats get pregnant over and over again so we are hoping that the ‘Beat the Heat’ program will provide an incentive to owners to have their cats sterilized before they become pregnant this year.”
The $20 surgery fee includes a rabies vaccination, Sullivan said. Cats must be at least 8 weeks old and weigh two pounds or more.
The special rate is offered through a grant from PetSmart Charities. The surgeries will be done in the PetFix mobile clinic at the APL shelter in Kingsville Township, Kitten Care and Rescue in Andover, Lake Humane Society in Mentor, Holy Cat Whiskers in Madison, and the Portage Animal Protective League and Dog Warden in Ravenna.
For dates and appointment information, call the PetFix hotline at (216) 536-0930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Appointments are limited. For more information visit www.petfixnortheastohio.org.
For a list of cats available for adoption (already spayed and neutered) visit www.acapl.org.
Fiala said the $20 deal is too good to pass up for cat owners.
“Spay and neuter is the only long term solution to the problem of unwanted pets,” she said. “The APL would love to work itself out of a job due to the fact that there are no unwanted or unloved pets.”