Animals

Bay Area Sees Population Explosion Of Feral Cats; Pandemic Hinders Spay/Neuter Efforts – CBS San Francisco

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KPIX 5) – The Bay Area is experiencing a stray cat population explosion, and experts say efforts to sterilize or neuter the animals are made more difficult by the pandemic.

Feral cats can be found anywhere: creek beds, along highways, and even behind supermarkets. It doesn’t really help to remove them from an area because that just creates a vacuum and more will move around.

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What really works is a process called TNR, or “trap, neuter, and return.” Groups that include Community Cat Concern in Contra Costa County send volunteers to temporarily pick up the cats until they can be spayed or neutered. They do this because, if left alone, their breeding can grow exponentially.

“So you have two cats that you leave unfixed. In three or four years, there could be hundreds,” volunteer Renee Emerson said.

There is a problem, said Gemma Boyd, head of the group.

Boyd explained to KPIX 5. “Overseas vets, you know, regular practices, have stopped doing this for rescue groups. They used to do a small percentage of their business for rescues to help with this issue. And they had to stop doing that because their business exploded. “.

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The sharp rise in pet ownership during the pandemic has increased the demand for veterinary care. This happens when there is a shortage of veterinary technicians, said Dr. Kate Hurley in the Curette Medicine Program at the University of California, Davis.

“COVID added to a system that was already very stressful, and then, when a few people started to fall apart — like, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” she said. “For people who quit, the workload is getting more intense. We see how the vicious circle goes.”

Volunteer stray cat catchers, including Monte Mantovan, now have to wait to collect the animals until he knows the testicle clinic has a hatch.

“I try to fall into a trap when I have a date, so I can bring the cat. And it doesn’t always work because you didn’t get the cat that night—you have a date on Wednesday, and you don’t get the cat on Wednesday night.” “It doesn’t show up for one reason or another,” Mantovan said.

Hurley said she would like to see the veterinary establishment create a new class of technicians who will be trained and authorized to perform spay and neuter surgeries only.

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Cat rescuers say, for now, the only immediate help is for people to get their pets neutered so they don’t add to the wild population, misery and deprivation of having to live in the wild.

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