THE CAT'S MEOW: A free clinic that spays or neuters feral felines helps reduce the stray population

Keri Thornton | Daily Press

Dr. Tim Synar, of Animal Medical Center in Muskogee, spayed a female cat at the Pets for Life office Friday morning.

About 20 wild and feral cats were spayed and neutered Friday morning before they were released backed into the community.

The Tahlequah Pets for Life offered a Community Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic on Sept. 17. The free services were for wild or feral cats only, and not for pet cats with forever homes.

Dr. Tim Synar works for the Animal Medical Center in Muskogee, and he performed every surgery on the cats.

Pets for Life is a program started by the Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter in Vinita. PAAS is focused on delivering pet owner support services in Vinita and Tahlequah.

Clinics are held in Tahlequah on Thursdays and Fridays, every other month, at the Pets for Life clinic, 304 W. Keetoowah St. Appointments are available throughout the day of the clinic, but organizers do have a system. They will normally take care of female dogs in the morning, and male dogs afterward.

Services include spay or neuter; rabies and other vaccines; heartworm tests; deworming; and microchips.

“We have great team here and they do a great job where they help the community with food and medication,” said Synar. “We have wellness clinics here that are low-cost where we give vaccinations and heartworm checks."

Tahlequah Animal Control Officer Vicky Green trapped several cats and brought them to the clinic. The cats were either spayed or neutered, then given a shot for rabies and other vaccines.

Through the Trap-Neuter-Release program, cats are turned back out into the community, but the work helps reduce future population issues.

The cat’s ear was notched so animal control officers will know they were spayed or neutered, and vaccinated through the program.

Ear notching is performed while the cat is under anesthesia from the surgery, making it safe, clean, and painless. Notching is a safeguard for outdoor cats, and allows those trapping the cats know the animal has already been fixed.

“They’ll have a notch in their left ear and if anyone ever traps them, they can look at it and tell that it’s been spayed or neutered,” said Kassi Simmons, registered veterinary technician.

Pets for Life has been doing spay and neuter clinics in Tahlequah for a little over a year. To date, around 3,000 surgeries have been performed.

As a nonprofit, Pets for Life depends on donations to be able to offer services.

Green urges county and city residents to get in touch with her if they’d like to get their cats, or dogs, fixed.

"Just call us and we can help," said Green. "We work in partnership with the Oklahoma Humane Society and the Humane Society of Cherokee County to reach pet owners. Together we keep pets in homes and out of shelters."

Get help

For more information on a Pets for Life clinic, call 918-323-1780, or Green at 918-822-1969.

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