Alley Cat Allies’ Feline Frenzy® in the Florida Panhandle is going strong! Through Feline Frenzy, Alley Cat Allies provides expert guidance, humane education, and essential funding to transform communities to protect and improve cats’ lives. It’s a game-changer for regions that lack affordable resources for catsespecially in areas devastated by natural disasters.
With the Florida Panhandle still healing from Hurricane Michael, that support is more vital than ever.
Feline Frenzy often includes free spay and neuter events as a component in its multipronged approach to lifesaving community change. Alley Cat Allies is proud to bring that lifesaving transformation to cats and people in the Florida Panhandle! Our Panama City-based spay and neuter event is spaying and neutering, microchipping, vaccinating, and eartipping (for community cats) more than 100 cats and kittens each surgery dayat no cost.
We’ve already reached 344 cats since April 4 and are well on the way to achieving our goal to spay and neuter as many as 1,000 cats by April 18.
The success is because Feline Frenzy is tailored to the specific needs and resources within the community. Alley Cat Allies is strategically collaborating with knowledgeable local organizations and advocates to most effectively help cats. Among those is Operation Spay Bay, a nonprofit low-cost veterinary clinic based in Panama City.
With Alley Cat Allies’ leadership and funding, the clinic’s two veterinarians, Dr. Alicia Vays, DVM, and Dr. Emily Brown, DVM, are working with determination and deft hands to help each cat brought to the event. Both cats who live indoors with people and community cats trapped as part of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) effort are receiving critical care.
“Alley Cat Allies gave us an opportunity to put our skills to work for more of the community,” says Terry Cotter, board chair and treasurer of Operation Spay Bay. “Our veterinarians can spay a cat in two minutes, so they’re helping animals at a rapid rate. We did surgery for 111 cats in the first day of the Feline Frenzy alone, which shows how badly this effort is needed.”
Alley Cat Allies chose to work with Operation Spay Bay because the clinic has invaluable experience in high-volume, high-quality spay and neuter. It boasts 35,000 surgeries for cats and dogs since opening its doors in 2014. As the only low-cost veterinary clinic in Bay County, its services are always in high demand. Operation Spay Bay also serves seven surrounding counties, many of which lack access to affordable veterinary care. It also provides a special discount for community cat surgeries and a transport program to bolster local TNR efforts.
Operation Spay Bay was running as smooth as ever in 2018. Cat intake and euthanasia rates at local animal shelters were dropping thanks to the clinic’s far-reaching work. Then, Hurricane Michael hit.
“It made all of our jaws drop with how destructive it was” says Cotter of the hurricane. “The storm blew the roof off half of our building and totaled our transport van. And we had people coming to us immediately, begging us for help with their animals.”
Once the shock of the devastation wore off, Operation Spay Bay hit the ground running. The clinic purchased a mobile unit to act as a new surgery suite, since half of its building was destroyed. Within two months, its veterinarians were at work spaying and neutering and vaccinating the many animals brought in by affected residents.
Now, Alley Cat Allies is facilitating the expansion of Operation Spay Bay’s impact so that, together, we can save even more animals’ lives through Feline Frenzy. Countless cats were displaced by the hurricane, many unneutered, so the campaign’s high-volume spay and neuter event is crucial to prevent an influx of kittens. Most importantly, the Feline Frenzy is providing relief to a wounded community still struggling to pick up the pieces.
“This is the most essential time for these services,” says Cotter. “People lost their jobs, their homes, everything in the hurricane. They desperately want to do the right thing for their animals, but they need help. They, and their cats, deserve quality veterinary care. We’re giving it to them.”
Recovery from Hurricane Michael is far from over, and people and animals across the Florida Panhandle still need urgent aid. Alley Cat Allies is working closely with Operation Spay Bay so the lifesaving momentum of Feline Frenzy can continue long after the event ends.
If you live in the Florida Panhandle, learn more about the Feline Frenzy® and where and when to take your cats for surgery and please consider supporting Feline Frenzy and our work.