Saturday, February 12, 2011

St. Thomas no ‘paradise’ for resident cats

A few closing words on feral cats and spay/neuter on St. Thomas (a.k.a. “America’s paradise”). In a recent note, Dellia indicated the island vets want to raise their prices for this procedure. This pricing situation keeps getting worse.

Even with a spay/neuter van on the island, the process still requires veterinarians’ cooperation. Last fall, a vet from Texas visited, and in two days, more than 100 cats were spayed or neutered in that van. It can be done!

In fact, Dellia points to cat colonies at both the Marriott resort and Magen’s Bay that are 100% “done.” However, that figure holds up only till more people dump their cats at those sites knowing they’ll be fed at the cat cafes. Unless such newcomers have been neutered, the result will be more and more kittens.

Overriding every other problem is that of food. What Dellia says is most needed is a source of wholesale cat food. Right now, she buys it and/or uses whatever is donated – a system that probably can’t go on indefinitely.

All in all, while at first I was delighted to hear about the cat cafes and TNR on St. Thomas, I’ve learned that the picture is not as rosy as I first thought, or wanted to believe. Numerous obstacles exist, including the very people who would be expected to want to save cats’ lives, instead of putting them down.

“America’s paradise” – that may be true for people, but definitely not for cats.

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