Let's Celebrate Spay-Neuter Awareness Month!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and we’re celebrating BIG TIME! 

Friends of Strays is paving the way to a no kill Pinellas County by stabilizing our community cat population through our RTF (Return-To-Field) and TNVR (Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release) programs.

What are RTF and TNVR? They are the two widely recognized lifesaving methods that avoid euthanasia of healthy yet unadoptable cats. RTF and TNVR programs reduce community cat populations through the proven practice of humanely trapping, spaying or neutering, vaccinating, ear tipping, and then returning the feral or free-roaming community cats to their colonies. Because they can no longer breed, the number of cats is reduced naturally over time and nuisance behaviors such as spraying and yowling are typically eliminated completely only a month after surgery. They have been shown to be the least costly, most effective, and most humane way to stabilize free-roaming cat populations.

Both programs, where permitted by law, represent a humane option for unsocial cats who would otherwise be at great risk of euthanasia in a shelter environment.

What’s the difference, you ask? RTF programs involve community cats who have been surrendered to an animal shelter, brought in by animal control personnel or by members of the public. The cat must be unowned, ineligible or unlikely to be successful in an adoption program, be able to be returned to the location where found, and appear to have been thriving in their previous environment without known threats to their safety. 

TNVR also services unadoptable cats, yet these community cats are not surrendered to a shelter. The caregiver maintains ownership of the cat throughout the process. He or she brings the cat in for services, releases the cat after the fact, and continues to care for the cat following its release.

Check out the stories below and see how Friends of Strays is helping more than just the animals within our walls.

With the help of a $250,000 grant from Best Friends Animal Society, Friends of Strays Animal Shelter’s new Pinellas Cats Alive! program is estimated to save the lives of 2,800 community, or free-roaming, cats in 2021.

In celebration of World Spay Day, Friends of Strays is offering free TNVR services on  Thursday, February 25. Limited space is available, so email medical@friendsofstrays.org to secure your place!

Last month, a kitten no older than 8 months was brought to Friends of Strays for TNVR services. Her  caretaker noticed she had a swollen belly, but couldn’t get close enough to take a good look. When our medical team sedated her for surgery, it became obvious that some of her mammary glands were enlarged, causing her great discomfort.