After more than 24 hours of travel, the Animal Balance team arrived on October 11 in Pago Pago—the capital of American Samoa. Nick King, co-founder of their partner organization on the ground (Alofa Mo Meaola or Love for Animals), greeted the team at the airport and led them to their accommodations.
After a good night’s sleep, the Animal Balance team and local volunteers gathered over breakfast for an orientation about the community from Nick and an orientation on Animal Balance’s procedures. Then they piled into trucks and headed to the first clinic site, which was set up under a pavilion, surrounded by gorgeous hillside villages and the harbor—it was great!
The team arrived at the site at about 10:15 a.m. and had the clinic built by just after noon. Talk about efficiency! Each team quickly organized and started unpacking supplies from all the luggage they carried in. Everyone collaborated about how each area—prep, surgery, and recovery—should be laid out and where each station should be in order to create an efficient flow that also kept the patients safe.
As the finishing touches were being put on the clinic, Mona King (Nick’s wife and the other founder of Alofa Mo Meaola) took the trapping team to a house just behind the site that was home to a community cat colony. The residents, a young woman with her two young children, were eager to get assistance stabilizing the cat population.
Within minutes, they had the traps set. It didn’t take long for the team to realize that the Samoan cats prefer fresh fish over the canned cat food that they were first offered. Once the fish came out, the cats practically walked into the traps. Several more kittens were caught and went into foster care to be neutered by the local veterinarian once they are big enough.
The team spayed and neutered 16 cats in about two hours—a great start to the first community cat trap and neuter project in American Samoa!
A community cat in American Samoa. © Animal Balance
Setting up the clinic site. © Animal Balance
An Animal Balance volunteer with a kitten that will be fostered until she is big enough to be spayed. © Animal Balance
Cats are humanely trapped in order to be neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped before being returned to their home. © Animal Balance