More than 100 feral felines received free veterinary care Sunday, thanks to the efforts of the Loudoun Community Cat Coalition.
The organization sponsored a mass spay/neutering clinic at the Leesburg Veterinary Hospital. Thirteen veterinarians and some 70 volunteers joined the effort.
Dr. Michael Strickland’s state-of-the-art clinic looked more like a military field hospital Sunday, as sheets of plastic lined the walls and virtually every flat surface was converted to a work space where cats were inspected, inoculated, shaved and operated on. A total of 114 cats of all sizes, breeds and colors were treated during the course of about seven hours.
“It’s a lot of dedication by a lot of people,” said Dr. Jeffrey Newman of Caring Hands Animal Hospital, who serves a vice president of the coalition.
Feral cats are free-roaming and have little interaction with humans. The cats treated by the coalition were trapped Friday and Saturday—mostly by the caretakers who feed them—and brought to the clinic Sunday morning.
Among the treatments given were rabies and distemper shots; deworming; flea, tick and mite treatments; and spay/neutering operations.
Treated cats were marked with a cut on their ear—eartipping is a way to document that a community cat has been spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Microchips also were inserted, allowing vets to record and track vaccination dates and other medical history.
For the volunteers, Newman said they can be as involved as they want. “I ask, ‘do you want to get your hands dirty or keep them clean?’” he said. “We just train them up.”
Teresa Davenport was among the volunteers offering to get dirty. She soon found herself at the station where the cats were shaved before their surgeries.
“I was amazed that so many volunteers came together to work so quickly, compassionately and with such organization to accomplish this huge task. It was so impressive,” said Davenport, who joined the effort for the first time.
The coalition grew from the Humane Society of Loudoun County’s Trap-Neuter-Release program, which became too big for the organization to handle alone. The nonprofit coalition includes support from a number of community animal care groups, vet office and the Loudoun County Department of Animal Care and Control.
Sunday’s clinic was supported by community donations that may be made through the coalition’s website, loudouncommunitycats.org.