In Cincinnati, Ohio, the issue is cats — an overpopulation of them, to be exact. Animal shelters are overwhelmed, and it’s not just them. Spay and neuter clinics are also facing a surge of stray cats. The situation is made even more critical by the existing shortage of veterinarians, leaving these clinics struggling to catch up.
The challenges in tackling feline overpopulation
Dr. Amy Strabala is performing consecutive cat surgeries — spaying and neutering them one after another, as many as possible. Strabala, who reduced her working hours due to physical strain, continues her mission to control feline overpopulation, but the issue seems to be worsening.
“We’ve been seeing cats come into heat really young like 4 months old, and so, they can get pregnant that quickly,” Strabala stated, according to Spectrum News 1. As a result, she and her team have been forced to make difficult decisions.
Strabala said that the most challenging aspect of her work involves dealing with pregnant cats in situations where they must terminate pregnancies. She noted that in cases where trapped feral cats are known to be pregnant, they still have to undergo spaying.
Surge in stray cats at the UCAN spay and neuter clinic
Despite Strabala’s efforts to prevent cat reproduction through surgeries, the influx of new cats continues. In fact, while she performs these procedures at the United Coalition for Animals — also known as the UCAN spay and neuter clinic in Cincinnati — there is a whole room filled with even more trapped stray cats.
UCAN Executive Director Melanie Corwin emphasized the enormity of the issue, highlighting the numerous public complaints regarding cat behavior. This includes yowling, fighting, and harming birds and other wildlife. The ultimate goal — according to Corwin — is to eliminate outdoor cats altogether.
Corwin explained that the nonprofit organization has been addressing a backlog of cases since the pandemic, but they still encourage individuals to bring in stray cats. She added, “The very best thing you could do is take it to a spay-neuter clinic — one of ours. Surgery is free. Everything’s free. So take it to one of ours.” Emphatically, Corwin continued, “Get it — spay, neuter.” Adding, “We ear tip the left ear so you can tell in the distance that the animal has been altered.”
All these efforts are aimed at reducing the number of cats on the streets.