by TARA KOLTON
for Montclair Local
Spaying and neutering cats is a necessary, life-saving procedure made easier with the People for Animals SpayStation Mobile Surgical Unit.
On Monday, March 5, Communities Promoting Animal Welfare NJ (CPAW NJ) will be once again teaming up with People for Animals (PFA), New Jersey’s largest low cost spay-neuter organization, and ACME Markets on Valley Road, to bring the SpayStation Mobile Surgical Unit to provide affordable spaying/neutering and vaccinations for area cats.
The PFA SpayStation will be in the ACME parking lot, located at 510 Valley Road, and PFA’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. David Croman, will spay/neuter up to 30 cats at a low cost. Both outdoor community cats, as well as house pet cats, are welcome.
The cost is $55 for an unowned, community cat (including a mandatory eartip), and $75 (regularly $90) for an owned, pet cat. PFA will also be including rabies and FVRCP vaccinations for all cats at no additional charge.
Active in the township since April 2017, CPAW NJ is a non-profit founded by Montclair resident Karen Shinevar, to promote animal welfare and prevent pet surrenders through “compassionate collaboration and connecting within our communities.” The group is dedicated to promoting a humane approach to controlling the stray population through a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program, and serving as a voice for animals through education.
“Our vision is to change the world so animals no longer need to be rescued,” said Shinevar, CPAW President. “We want people to know that spaying/neutering is something very preventative and proactive that we can all do for our pets, that can save lives, and prevent behavioral problems.”
According to Shinevar, spayed female cats are less likely to develop mammary gland tumors, ovarian and uterine cancer. Neutering male cats reduces risk of testicular cancer and helps eliminate spraying or marking behavior.
Spaying and neutering outdoor stray and feral cats is also vital to keeping the local feline population under control, and reducing suffering and death among outdoor cats.
“A cat can become pregnant as early as five months, and can have two to three litters of kittens per year,” said Shinevar, adding that about three out of four kittens born outside will die. The ones that do survive will reproduce quickly if not spayed or neutered. Kittens born outside and not socialized in about 12 weeks will not be adoptable, and they must remain outdoor cats, explained Shinevar. With no beginning or end to the feline breeding season, new litters of kittens are already being born. The group works with local residents to help them trap kittens and cats that need care, as well as to be responsible caregivers for those that must live their lives outdoors.
A retired lawyer, Shinevar volunteered at the Montclair Township Animal Shelter for three years before founding CPAW. Since 2011, she has worked with Montclair’s Human Needs Food Pantry to provide dog and cat food to the pantry. She encourages people to donate pet food to the food pantry bins around town.
March 5 will bring to Montclair the third low cost Spay Day organized by CPAW, with another planned for April 25. The organization also keeps a busy schedule of free educational events, such as “Cat Behavior 101” to be held on March 7 at Mundo Vegan, and “Learn About Kitten Care & Disease” at United Way of Northern NJ on March 11.
Shinevar also encourages residents feeding and caring for stray cats, or those experiencing challenging behavior from their cats to contact CPAW, whose volunteers are willing to assist, educate and help trap felines.
Trapping services are provided for free, but donations that support CPAW’s efforts are welcomed and vital to keeping the program going. A donation of $55, for instance, covers the cost of a spay, while $85 covers the cost of a trap.
“If people understand the efficacy of trap-neuter-return – it works. In larger cities, New York City for instance, they’ve reduced euthanasia dramatically through a feral cat TNR initiative,” said Shinevar. “I’m very proud of living in this town, and I want us to be progressive in the area of animal welfare.”
To register your cat for the Community Spay Day, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and contact information (both email address and telephone number). Cats must be dropped off by 7 a.m. and picked up by 3 p.m. on March 5. It is not a requirement to be a Montclair resident to register.
Residents who know of an outdoor cat that may need to be spayed are also encouraged to contact Shinevar via email, on the group’s Facebook page or visit www.cpawnj.org and click on the button in the upper right corner that says “Feeding a Stray Cat?”