Their work began on Thursday, December 9 when ARF traveled from East Hampton to Bideawee’s Westhampton facility for the first of what will be monthly Spay/Neuter Clinics to address the feral cat population in Suffolk County.
ARF’s medical team, led by Medical Director Dr. Christine Asaro, vaccinated and spayed/neutered 30 community (feral) cats at the launch event to reduce the exponential growth of free-roaming cats and the suffering of countless kittens in the future. The surgeries took place inside ARF’s mobile spay/neuter van at Bideawee, and ARF’s staff and volunteers managed intake and recovery for the cats in Bideawee’s facility.
For years, both ARF and Bideawee have been battling the same issue separately using the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) approach, which the organization says is the most humane and effective way to manage the feral cat population. Since its inception in 1997, ARF’s Operation Cat Program (Op Cat) has altered and vaccinated more than 28,000 free-roaming cats in Suffolk County. Additionally, Op Cat also enlists a vast network of volunteer caretakers who provide food and shelter for cat colonies, ensuring that the cats remain healthy while their numbers decline over time, thanks to TNR.
Bideawee assumed responsibility of the Feral Cat Initiative (FCI) in 2019, formerly run by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, which has assisted more than 200,000 feral cats. FCI provides a wealth of information to the public such as free training and support, and access to resources and services to promote TNR and responsible colony management. FCI also plays a key role in directing colony caretakers to TNR services like Op Cat.
“As longtime TNR advocates, we are thrilled about this exciting partnership between our organizations. TNR saves countless kittens from being born on our streets and keeps the free-roaming cats of Long Island safe and healthy,” Leslie Granger, CAWA, President and CEO of Bideawee, said. “Thank you to ARF and all who have helped make this partnership successful.”
ARF’s CEO and Executive Director Scott Howe added, “It’s essential for animal welfare organizations to work together to achieve their common goals, and Bideawee is one of ARF’s go-to partners.”
Together, ARF and Bideawee intend to maximize their effectiveness in reducing the feral cat population by combining their resources to benefit the cats and the communities they serve.
The next clinic is scheduled for Thursday, January 13, 2022.
Free appointments must be made in advance online at arfhamptons.org/programsservices/operation-cat/.
Learn more about Bideawee and the Feral Cat Initiative at bideawee.org/programs/feral-cat-initiative/.