Sterilization Of Feral Cats

Alongside our general rescue and re-homing Adopt Meow program we devote time and resources to our sterilization program.

There are countless numbers of cats living in and around Chiang Mai. Many are homeless, competing with the stray dogs for food; scavenged from local residents, storekeepers and visitors. Some live in the temples around Chiang Mai whilst others are fortunate enough to have a home. We have met many kind Thai people who do their best to help the stray cats with very limited resources.For the average Thai person, it is simply too expensive to get a cat sterilized. Females cost 1000 baht or more and males 500 baht or more. Females can start breeding as early as 4 months old and produce two or three litters a year. Most of these kittens won’t survive. Repeated pregnancies take a toll on the health of the female cat. Unneutered males suffer from wounds sustained from competing for the females and are more susceptible to disease. Some cat owners use a contraceptive injection to try to limit unwanted pregnancies. Unfortunately, this can lead to severe problems such as pyometra which, if untreated, can lead to a nasty, painful death.

When Lek and Liz started helping the cats of Mae Rim, they used their own funds to get as many female cats sterilized as possible. It was a huge and very expensive task. Increasing numbers of local people were asking for help with sterilizing their cats. When Kitten Rescue and Adoption Chiang Mai was established, one of the first members suggested that we approach WVS Care for Dogs for help.

Somewhat hesitantly, Liz approached Ian Clarke at WVS Thailand (a.k.a. WVS Care for Dogs). Much to her delight, Ian agreed to help. The majority of work carried out by the amazing team at WVS at Hang Dong on the outskirts of Chiang Mai is focused on training vets to carry out sterilization of dogs, besides operating a canine rescue and rehabilitation center. When the WVS vets have time, between training courses and community outreach clinics, they do what we all now call a ‘Care for Cats’ day. Members of the Kitten Rescue and Adoption Chiang Mai get the cats to and from Hang Dong in our own vehicles and at our own expense.

It has taken us a while to get a system in place. In the early days, we would go around and pick up cats on sterilization day from wherever they happened to be, but that proved to be too chaotic. Sometimes we would turn up and the monks at the temple had forgotten to catch the cats they had asked us to sterilize. Feral and stray cats were handed over in baskets and containers literally held together with string and bits of wire with maybe as many as 4 cats in a cage. We had several cats escape in the back of the car in transit to WVS. All this before 8 am in the morning!! With a number of Care for Cats Days under our belts, we now have a routine worked out.

Lots of safe carriers, cats caught the night before and ready for collection and surgery and a list of cats for WVS staff (not always accurate because owners sometimes decide to swap cats without telling us). We usually have a waiting list of cats to be sterilized. The WVS vets use dissolvable stitches and long-lasting antibiotic injections so that we can operate a trap, neuter, and release (TNR) program for the street cats. We arrive at WVS Hang Dong in a variety of vehicles with a huge assortment of cat carriers.

WVS staff patiently log each one and the cat inside will subsequently receive a piece of masking tape on its ear with the corresponding number so that, post-surgery, the correct cat is returned to its carrier. We can be dealing with anything up to 20 cats at a time. In June and July, we sterilized 30 cats.

The staff at WVS are incredibly patient and kind. I think we provide a little light relief for them – we are the crazy cat ladies!! Having dropped the cats off at WVS, we sometimes make a day of it; we may have a day out exploring new places or we might have other ‘kitten rescue’ related things to do. We return to collect the cats around 4 pm, have fun trying to remember who brought which carriers and then return the (often rather angry, malodorous, noisy and confused) cats to where they came from.

It’s a long but very rewarding day. If you have transport and live in the area, we always need more drivers. We are incredibly grateful to Ian Clarke, the vets and particularly Khun Nut and the admin staff at WVS for putting up with us and providing such an important service free of charge. With their help, and the sterilizations carried out by local vets, we have avoided hundreds of unwanted kittens.

WVS recently did a week-long clinic at Sanpong Municipality, Mae Rim. Working with the local authority they carried out sterilizations of local dogs and cats, while WVS sister charity Mission Rabies did a mass door to door, vaccination program in the area. There are plans for more of these outreach clinics, in and around Chiang Mai, in the near future.

Your donation and sponsorship makes a huge difference in the lives of these cats and the cat communities around Chiang Mai.

You can also deposit into Bangkok Bank account 358-O-66191-O