Between January and June 2020 HCMT has 13 free and low-cost spay/neuter clinics scheduled for stray/feral and rescued/pet cats. Each spay and neuter reduces the number of homeless cats in the Pittsburgh region, and helps everyone be a part of the solution.
“Looking back on 2019, the Homeless Cat Management Team fixed 1,726 community and pet cats at 24 HCMT spay/neuter clinics! We fixed 962 cats for free!” said Lisa Lendl-Lander, HCMT secretary. “We recognize that many people can’t afford to get their cats fixed in addition to caring for them so we offer cat spays/neuters for free.”
She added that since the organization was founded in 1998, “HCMT has fixed 24,641 cats!”
Clinics fill up fast and registration well ahead of time is required.
FREE CLINICS (ferals only)
- January 4 – in memory of Lance Bubash
- February 1 – in memory of Milton Lendl
- February 29 – sponsored by Moondogs Fundraiser
- March 28 – in memory of James McDonald Jr.
- May 9– sponsored by Samantha Ginsburg
- May 23 – sponsored by Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser
- June 20 – open for sponsorship
FAST TRACK CLINICS
- January 18
- February 15
- March 14
- April 11
- April 25
- June 6
More dates may be announced and dates are subject to change. Check www.homelesscat.org/clinic-info for the most up to date information.
The importance of spay and neuter for all cats
Cats end up living on the street in many ways but usually not by their own choice. They are left behind when people move, they are placed outside as if they are trash when they are no longer wanted, sometimes they unintentionally escape. The reasons cats end up outside may be behavioral, or their owner’s financial or emotional issues, but cats end up abandoned and need the help of the community to rescue them and find them another home.
Cats can begin reproducing as young as four months old. An unspayed female cat can have an average of two litters per year with an average of four kittens, some are even more prolific. Her kittens can be ready to produce kittens four months after they are born. If none are spayed or neutered by the next year, well, you can do the math.
But kittens can be spayed and neutered as young as two months, weighing at least two pounds. All those extra kittens never need to be born. Clinics in the spring and summer often treat over 100 cats at each clinic, roughly twice each month, and more with trapping and rescuing cats between clinics.
What is the Homeless Cat Management Team?
“We did our first clinic in November of 1998 fixing 66 cats. We had four vets and it took all day,” Lisa said. “Now we can do a clinic with two vets and fix 80 cats in seven hours.
“We are celebrating operating in our twenty-second year. We are coming up on our 25,000th fix, so that is something very noteworthy,” she continued.
Think about that for a minute now…25,000 spay and neuter surgeries for stray, feral and owned cats. With the reproductive lives of that many cats effectively put to an end, imagine how many other kittens didn’t, and won’t, end up out on the streets or in shelters?
The Homeless Cat Management Team is a freestanding “Trap-Neuter-Return” (TNR) organization in the Pittsburgh region. Their mission is to lead the way in ending the overpopulation of companion animals in our region by providing high-volume, high-quality, low-cost sterilization. We also assist and support community cat caretakers who work with HCMT with trapping, transportation, cat food and shelter, and veterinary care.
They also have clinics open to the public for rescued and pet cats, which provides an alternative for people with limited incomes or several cats who need to be spayed and neutered at one time, such as an “accidental” litter of kittens and their mother.
As part of HCMT’s TNR process and mission to end feline overpopulation and reduce populations of cats living outdoors, volunteers also assess all kittens and friendly cats HCMT has rescued for adoptability and socialization, and after spay/neuter and age-appropriate vaccines offer them for adoption through their sister organization, a network of volunteer foster homes called Pittsburgh C.A.T.
Homeless Cat Management Team Clinic Information
Feral Cats vs Rescue Cats
A feral is a cat that will be returned to the outdoor location where it was trapped after surgery and must arrive in a trap.
A rescue is a cat that either has been or will be adopted as a pet after surgery and must arrive in a carrier. Only feral cats are eligible for No-Charge clinics. Both feral and rescue cats can be treated at Fast Track Clinics.
How to register for a clinic
All clinics are held at HCMT’s clinic at 207 Allegheny St, Tarentum, PA 15084. You must pre-register for any clinic. Walk-ins are not permitted.
By Phone: call 412-321-4060 and leave a message. Please include your name and phone number in your message. Someone will return your call and complete your pre-registration. HCMT is all volunteer and this may take some time. Clinics fill up quickly and it’s best to call at least two weeks in advance of the clinic you want to attend.
By Email: Email email@example.com with your name, number of spots you need and which date you are registering for. You will receive a confirmation email ONLY if you are registered.
Feral cats must arrive in a standard humane box trap (Havahart, Safe-guard, Tomahawk, Tru-Catch, etc.) for the safety of all involved. Rescue and owned cats can arrive in carriers, one cat per carrier. They will be placed back in their carrier or trap for recovery after surgery.
HCMT also needs volunteers for clinics, up to 20 per clinic for various duties and different shifts, with most of them not requiring medical training. On the website you’ll find a link to the signup to volunteer for any of the clinics that are scheduled. Volunteer help is appreciated in other ways too, like helping with the laundry that’s produced with all the sheets, blankets, beds and other items used in the clinic. Call the Homeless Cat Management Team hotline and leave a message, 412-321-4060 or visit www.homelesscat.org to find more information and to find links to our Facebook groups.
Support, donate and sponsor
HCMT opened its own clinic space in Tarentum, northeast of Pittsburgh. The free clinics are funded in part by donations from individuals, but the biggest portion of the funding is a $1,500 sponsorship by one donor. HCMT would love to offer more opportunities for clinics, so consider sponsoring one yourself, or your business or an organization. If you are interested in partially or fully sponsoring a clinic, send an email with your contact information and details to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are all volunteer, and sometimes the community’s needs for help with cats is enormous, but we will respond.
Sponsors for the clinics listed above include family members of board members and volunteers. Milton Lendl, father of a board member, grew up on a farm, was an Ivy League graduate and a real animal lover according to his daughter Lisa who serves on HCMT’s board. His wife Jeanette Lendl regularly sponsors clinics in his memory and also runs a small sale table at clinics to raise extra money.
If Samantha Ginsburg ever won the lottery, she would use the money to spay and neuter every cat and dog. Until then, Samantha and her family have been sponsoring HCMT clinics and this will be their fifth year supporting us. When she is not caring for her own cats or her community cat colonies she can be found volunteering with Kopy Kat Sanctuary. Her mission is to advocate for the voiceless and to do her part to educate on the importance of spay / neuter / TNR.
In May 2017 HCMT received a call for help for a half dozen or so kittens dumped on a farm, but when a volunteer picked up the carriers holding the kittens she found 24 kittens in each carrier and one adult cat who was not their mother. The kittens were malnourished and full of fleas and parasites with upper respiratory infections bordering on pneumonia and infected eyes that could leave them totally blind. In July after two months of treatment those kittens were well and healthy and lost very few eyes, and all have been adopted. Many generous people saw HCMT’s need and donated money, goods and volunteer time, and what was leftover sponsored a clinic to hopefully prevent that sort of thing from happening again.
The Fund for Feral Cats is a Pittsburgh organization that assists local animal welfare organizations in their mission. They are sponsoring the clinic closest to National Feral Cat Day.
In May 2017 HCMT held its second annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser, raising $14,355.55 which sponsored a clinic and helps cover the costs of rescues like the 48 kittens, the six hoarding cases in which HCMT has assisted the Pittsburgh Police in rescuing cats in the past year, the everyday expenses of rescuing cats and caring for cats at our clinic building between spay/neuter clinics, and just paying the bills.
Every clinic reduces the populations of cats living on the streets and prevents the births of potentially thousands of kittens. Any donation would help defray the cost of these clinics and help cats living outdoors, in shelters and even in foster homes. A small donation in honor of one of your cats or a person who was instrumental in teaching you about cats would help all cats in need. Also, if you know of an individual, an organization or a group of people who would like to make a donation and can sponsor a free clinic, you would have a huge impact on the lives of cats in the Pittsburgh area.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!