Volunteers on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, braved rain and wind during the first weekend of November to carry out Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for 18 community cats, and trap 13 kittens who will be spayed or neutered, socialized, and put up for adoption.
It was the second time this year that a spay and neuter clinic was held on the island. The clinic was funded by Alley Cat Allies and coordinated by Chincoteague Island (CI) Community Cats and Caring Hands Animal Support and Education (CHASE).
A grant provided by Alley Cat Allies also funded a TNR clinic in June 2018, which helped CI Community Cats spay and neuter 25 cats on the island. Following the November clinic, a total of 88 had been spayed or neutered and returned to their outdoor homes since June, and volunteers continue to work toward their goal of carrying out TNR on 100 cats.
“The well-coordinated program on Chincoteague Island is a perfect example of how TNR can help cats and benefit the surrounding community anywhere it’s practiced,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “We commend CI Community Cats and CHASE for their incredible achievements and hope their work can inspire even more of these clinics and programs in the area.”
Volunteers started trapping cats on Friday evening. The trapped cats were transferred to a secure location on Chincoteague Island until Saturday morning, when volunteers took them to nearby Pocomoke Animal Hospital, owned by Dr. Jeffrey Reed. They were spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and eartipped (the universal symbol that a cat has been through a TNR program). The cats were returned to their outdoor homes on Sunday morning.
Julie Brommer, who leads CI Community Cats, says that the clinic ran smoothly and had a great turnout from the community. About 20 volunteers helped each day of the clinic.
Alley Cat Allies has supported TNR on Chincoteague Island for years, first through Virginia-based CHASE. CHASE has conducted high-volume spay and neuter clinics on the island in previous years, before it started working with CI Community Cats.
CI Community Cats is continuing to expand its work, including reaching its goal of carrying out TNR for 100 cats and raising money to purchase its own traps, instead of borrowing them. The group is dedicated to the success of the TNR project, which Brommer says is beginning to flourish.
“It is so exciting to see the community coming together to help each other and help the cats,” she says.