The Spay & Neuter Association of Newtown (SNAN) sponsored the latest visit by Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM) Mobile Cat Clinic on Tuesday, September 24. The low-cost, professional clinic is brought into town by SNAN at least once each year. Last week, the visit resulted in 38 cats being spayed or neutered.
“That even represents three cats from the pound,” said Marion Thompson, president of SNAN. “There were a few no-shows this morning, and [Newtown Animal Control Officer] Carolee Mason told us to let her know if there were any openings.”
By midafternoon, the veterinary office-on-wheels had been parked in the parking lot of 5 Glen Road for nearly six hours, and the sound of mewing could be heard from within as the day’s patients began waking up from their procedures. Dr Art Heller had handled the surgeries on Tuesday, aided by a pair of veterinary technicians.
Two tents were set up in the western corner of the parking lot, where cat carriers had been kept Tuesday morning as each cat awaited his or her turn to go into the mobile unit. The tents provided shade when the sun was out, and protection from the chilly air of early autumn as each cat awaited its turn to be put onto the feline unit.
Local cat owners — “We don’t just offer this to residents of Newtown, but those all around, from Monroe to Danbury, and from New Milford to Southbury” said Mrs Thompson — had dropped their felines off by 8 am. As the sun shown down on the SNAN members still volunteering their time, the owners began arriving to pick up their pets around 2:45. Most had one animal to pick up, while a few had two or three cats under their care.
Cat carriers had been lined up on the grass near the mobile veterinary clinic, and owners claimed their carriers as they arrived to pick up their cats. Some of the pet owners had also opted to purchase Frontline, the flea and tick medicine, which was also being offered at a discounted price.
As their name or number was called, each owner stepped forward to meet one of the veterinary techs at the door of the clinic. Before handing a cat back to its owner, the tech told the owner how their cat was doing, and gave them instructions on caring for the cats as they recover from their surgery. Many owners were also told of concerns or issues that were found during the presurgical examination, from marks on necks because collars had been too tight to diseases or injuries that should also be taken care of.
Aside from some concerns, however, all owners received good news at the end of the day.
“Everything went well,” Mrs Thompson said. “They’re all fine.”
Based in Westbrook, TEAM’s Mobile Feline Unit is said to be the state’s only mobile spay and neuter and vaccination clinic for cats. It has been operating since March 1, 1997.
On April 16, 2007, the 100,000th sterilization surgery was performed aboard the TEAM Mobile Feline Unit. The number has since increased to at least 160,000, according to the group’s website.
SNAN has been sponsoring or co-sponsoring visits by TEAM’s Mobile Cat Clinic at least once each year since October 2006; the group has worked in the past with The Animal Center of Newtown to bring the mobile cat clinic to town. For more than 30 years, SNAN has been a volunteer organization trying to reduce the number of unwanted animals in Newtown and in the surrounding communities.