Shutdowns, physical distancing and unemployment have touched every part of our society, including needs for our pets. Veterinarians closed down all unnecessary surgeries for two months in order to protect their staffs and preserve protective equipment and materials. Many people have reduced income or are unemployed and the choice to spay or neuter their cats may be put aside in order to pay bills or buy food. Others are feeding abandoned stray and feral cats and likewise can’t afford to take care of their colonies to prevent more homeless cats on the streets. No one wants to overburden our shelter and rescue systems with unwanted kittens who may end up abandoned.
Between June and December 2020 HCMT has 14 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.
At HCMT clinics, you can have your male cat neutered for $40 or a female spayed for $55. Surgeries include a state-mandated rabies vaccine and a flea treatment. If you are caring for community cats, HCMT hosts six clinics where feral cats are spayed or neutered and given a rabies vaccine absolutely free, and other clinics where the cost is $30 per surgery.
“HCMT has done over 25,000 cat spay/neuter surgeries since we started in 1998!” said Lisa Lendl-Lander, HCMT secretary. By June 2020 HCMT has provided surgeries to 25,256 cats—and counting. Think about that for a minute now…over 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?
Clinics fill up fast and registration well ahead of time is required.
FREE CLINICS (ferals only)
- June 20 – sponsored by Lumpy’s Country Deli & Pie Shop
- July 18 – In memory of Richard Hess
- August 15 – Ruth D. Simpson Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation
- September 12 – In memory of Pat Tiani Jr.
- October 10 – In memory of James McDonald Jr. (rescheduled from 3-28-2020)
- November 7 – Nadine Piontka
- December 5 – half sponsorship in memory of Jeanne T. Richey, half sponsorship anonymous
FAST TRACK CLINICS
- July 4
- August 1
- August 29
- September 26
- October 24
- November 21
- December 19
More dates may be announced and dates are subject to change. Check www.homelesscat.org/clinic-info for the most up to date information.
Both include rabies vaccine, flea treatment, and ear mite treatment if necessary. Other vaccines and tests are also available at low cost.
Feral Cat Package (MANDATORY EAR TIP)
(Surgery with antibiotic and pain meds)
- FREE CLINICS: no charge
- FAST TRACK CLINICS: $30
Rescue/Pet Cat Package (NO ear tip)
- Male $40
- Female $55
Feral Cats vs Rescue Cats
A feral is a cat that will be returned to the outdoor location where it was trapped after surgery.
A rescue is a cat that either has been or will be adopted as a pet after surgery. Only feral cats are eligible for No-Charge clinics. Both feral and rescue cats can be treated at Fast Track Clinics.
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 or caretaker.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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, north east of Pittsburgh. The free clinics are funded in part by donations from individuals, but the biggest portion of the funding are the $1,500 sponsorships by one or more donors. 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 email@example.com. We are all volunteer, and sometimes the community’s needs for help with cats is enormous, but we will respond.
Past clinic sponsors include family members of board members and volunteers as well as those who support what HCMT does. Milton Lendl, father of board secretary Lisa, 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.
HCMT’s annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser regularly collects over $14,000 in donations which sponsors a clinic and helps cover the veterinary costs of hundreds of rescued kittens and cats. Because of the shutdown in March, HCMT had to postpone and may cancel the dinner this year, which will leave the organization without a big chunk of operating funds.
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. Visit www.homelesscat.org for information and options for donating.
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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!
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