Birmingham clinic offering free spay and neuter surgeries

Published 3:35 pm Monday, July 19, 2010

A Birmingham-based organization is attempting to make it easier for Alabaster cat owners and feline aficionados to help their furry friends.

The Alabama Spay and Neuter Clinic recently began offering its free spay and neuter program in Shelby County’s largest city.

Through the program, Alabaster residents can drop off feral cats or outdoor cats each Saturday at 10 a.m. at the City Hall Annex parking lot on First Street Northwest.

The clinic will then transport the animals to be spayed or neutered, receive their rabies vaccinations, receive free flea and worm treatments, get microchipped and have their ear’s tipped.

Multiple cats can be dropped off each Saturday. However, when dropping off feral felines, the clinic asks each feral cat be brought in a separate trap or cat carrier to make handling the animals easier, Nelson said.

“Ear tipping is kind of the international sign that a cat has been spayed or neutered,” said clinic Executive Director Mark Nelson. “When their ears are tipped, they are much less likely to get trapped and put to sleep.”

The free clinic is funded by donations from local businesses, which makes the clinic free to residents in Alabaster and Montevallo.

“If you live in Alabaster, and have the proper proof of residence, you can bring either a feral cat or a free-roaming cat and we will pick them up for free,” Nelson said. “We have a couple of major corporations that fund this.

“The cats are taken really good care of,” Nelson said. “We keep them in a nice, air-conditioned environment, and of course we take care of feeding them while they are here.”

After picking up the animals on Saturdays, the clinic notifies the cat’s owner when the procedures have been completed. The pet owner is usually responsible for picking up the animal at the Birmingham clinic, but the clinic does offer some assistance with returning cats on a case-by-case basis.

The clinic began offering the free spay and neuter program to Montevallo residents several months ago, and a funding surplus has allowed the clinic to expand the program into Alabaster.

“We didn’t want to overdo it initially and run out of money, so we just started in Montevallo,” Nelson said. “Our donor was generous enough to provide enough funding for several hundred more surgeries.”

By providing the free surgeries, the clinic is looking to lower the number of animals taken in by the Shelby County Humane Society, Nelson said.

“There are just so many kittens born that end up starving to death or run over by a car,” Nelson said. “This has proven to be a way to cut down on that.

“We want to see a decrease in intake at the Shelby County Humane Society,” Nelson added. “If we do start to see that, it will make us feel very good.”