Paws for a Moment by Bonny Corbeil

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Our ACC Bush Cat Spay/Neuter Program

I would imagine that many of you were astonished that one unsprayed female cat and her offspring could potentially produce as many as 450,000 kittens in a mere seven years! This is the reason that we must continue our ACC spay and neutering program on St. John. September is a good time of the year to be involved in helping us in this program as many activities and commitments have “slowed down.”

Take some time to assess your neighborhood. Do you see colonies of cats at your dumpster or in the bushes around your work or homes? If so we’d love your help in catching homeless, bush cats with the purpose of spaying/neutering them; checking for communicable colony cat diseases like feline HIV; and ultimately placing them in ACC manned feeding stations.

How To Get Involved:
The process is actually quite easy. The ACC has arranged to have a feral cat spay/neuter day each Wednesday at Canines, Cats and Critters at 9 a.m. (Palm Plaza near The Westin). This is the day that we receive a discount so we try to get as many cats in as possible. If you see a bush cat with a “corner-nipped” ear, that usually means that they have already been “fixed.”

The ACC has a number of “Have-a-heart” Traps. Call Connie Joseph, our ACC Shelter Manager, at 774-1625 to rent one. We ask that volunteers “rent” them and put a $40 deposit down to ensure their return; of course you will be reimbursed. Connie will be happy to show you how to use these traps.

Trapping:
It is best to attempt to trap cats the Tuesday night prior to Wednesday’s scheduled spay/neutering program. Set the traps out where bush cats reside. Be sure it is a safe spot. Lay a thin sheet of newspaper inside the trap; place wet cat food (or canned tuna or salmon!) inside along with a little water. Cover the trap with an old sheet-remembering to keep the open side of the trap uncovered.

Hopefully, when you return the next morning, you will have caught a bush cat. Do not attempt to open the trap or touch the cat at all. This cat will not be a happy cat, but remember that you are doing this cat and our community a big favor! Be sure to protect the inside of your vehicle from potential mess with either newspaper or tarp.

Trip To the Vets and Aftercare:
Again, it is important that your caged bush cat is taken in to Canines, Cats and Critters by 9 a.m.
“Your cat” must be picked up before 5 that same day before closing. Most importantly, this cat needs to be looked after until the next morning, in its cage of course. While the cat is still under medication, be sure to place a little water and dry food during recuperation time. It is helpful to the cat to keep the sheet over the cage and be sure it is in a dry place overnight.

By Thursday morning the cat is ready to be released. Bring it in the cage to the place that you plan to release it. Straddle the cage while you open the trap hatch. After the cat has been released, please clean out the cage with bleach/water solution before returning it to the ACC for your deposit.

If you would like this cat relocated to one of our ACC feeding stations, we can do this service for you for a $25. Be sure to discuss this with Connie who will make all of the arrangements. Any cats testing positive for communicable or incurable diseases will humanely be put down.

New Service in Coral Bay:
It has been increasingly difficult to organize and implement this bush cat spay/neuter program in Coral Bay. Jan Perkins of “St. John Mobile Pet Care” has offered to help at this part of the island. We have a number of traps now located in Coral Bay. Call Bonny Corbeil at 693-5874 to obtain a trap or see Pirate Bill for more information. Jan is quite flexible in working our spay/neutering needs in Coral Bay. Any help that you can give our ACC — either financially or in time — in its efforts to minimize bush-cat overpopulation on St. John is greatly appreciated! 

ACC Take Note:
There are few volunteers who are as dedicated to animals and our ACC as is Pat Mahoney. She can be seen at every animal adoption clinic at The Marketplace. Her passion in finding good homes for animals is inspirational. Her kind of dedication and commitment is what keeps our organization’s doors open!

The Board of Directors applauds who she is and what she gives to our ACC. Our deepest appreciation Pat.