Local organizations work together to spay and neuter cats and kittens

For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 30, 2021

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Animal Services Division

Veterinarians perform spay and neuter surgeriesMore cats and kittens in the Portland metro region are getting spayed and neutered thanks to a collaboration between Washington County Animal Services (WCAS) and Cat Adoption Team (CAT). 

Access to veterinary services continues to be a challenge for many pet owners. As members of the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), WCAS and CAT are committed to working together to make the region one of the safest places for pets in the country. Nine organizations form the ASAP coalition, which spans four counties (Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington in Oregon and Clark in Washington). Every shelter in the alliance keeps statistics regarding the outcomes of animals under their care, and the shelters work together to ensure no adoptable animal in the region is euthanized for lack of time or space in a partner shelter. 

Just one cat can have up to 180 kittens in its lifetime — making spay/neuter surgery a necessary tool in preventing more cats than can be cared for in our community. ASAP’s Spay & Save program aims to keep families and their pets together and reduce the number of cats and kittens that are coming into shelters. As demand for spay and neuter services in the area has continued to rise, ASAP partners have been looking for new ways to increase the number of surgeries available to pet owners.

CAT has been offering low-cost spay and neuter surgeries through ASAP’s Spay & Save program since 2010 and has spayed or neutered more than 1,000 felines this year alone. But as the waitlist for affordable spay and neuter appointments grew, CAT found they were limited in the number of surgeries they could perform utilizing only their staff. Washington County saw an opportunity for their shelter veterinarian, certified veterinary technician and other staff to step beyond the walls of the Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter and into the community by joining CAT in their efforts. County staff currently assist with Spay & Save clinics twice a month. 

“Access to spay/neuter services has been limited during the pandemic, creating an enormous backlog throughout our community. Increasing access to these surgeries is one of the most impactful things we can do,” said Karen Green, executive director of CAT. “This collaboration between Cat Adoption Team and Washington County Animal Services will have a big impact for cats and people in our community!”

Randy Covey, manager of Washington County Animal Services added, “It’s exciting to see this kind of strong collaboration between a government agency and a private nonprofit in Washington County to benefit people and their pets. It highlights the value of public and private organizations pooling resources to address a real need in the community.” 

The Spay & Save program has also gotten a boost from local aspiring veterinarians. A recent clinic welcomed two student volunteers from Oregon State University’s Shelter Medicine Club. OSU student Victoria Ryan relished the opportunity to help a high volume spay/neuter operation in any way she could and was impressed with the collaboration and high level of care each cat received. 

“Everyone there was so kind and dedicated to the mission of helping cats in need,” Ryan said after a recent clinic. “The team seemed to work so effortlessly well together I didn't even realize it was a collaborative event between Washington County Animal Services and CAT at first!”

Both organizations plan to continue to work together into 2022 to care for cats and kittens in the area. More information about the Spay & Save program is available at www.asapmetro.org/spay-save.   

Media Contacts:  
Randy Covey
Manager, Washington County Animal Services

Heather Svoboda Miller
Communications & Development Manager, Cat Adoption Team