Pet Connections

FIX’UR CAT an Oasis of Hope for Washington County Felines

They are voiceless, defenseless, and homeless. They live on the streets in low-income neighborhoods, and in trailer parks, and a few lucky ones find a farm with a caretaker willing to care for them. 

Their numbers are staggering. They are the homeless felines of Washington County. Most lack access to adequate food and shelter reproducing litter after litter. There are several contributing factors as to why cats find themselves homeless. One underlying cause is the lack of access to affordable veterinary care. Some individuals advocate for trap and kill as the solution to the homeless cat population. 

However, internationally it is largely accepted that TNVR(trap-neuter-vaccinate-return) is the most effective and humane method of addressing the homeless feline population.  A significant component of TNVR is access to a high-volume low-cost spay/neuter clinic.  High volume for the purpose of this article is defined as having the ability to perform  6,000 to 8,000 spays/neuters annually. Not until recently has a high-volume clinic even been a remote possibility within Washington County. The realization of that goal only recently became a real possibility creating a much-needed Oasis of Hope for Washington County felines because of the dedication of the founders of FIX’UR CAT.

Shortly after returning to the area Michelle Bruce became aware of the enormity of the homeless cat population in Washington County and the lack of resources needed to address the problem. 

After learning that a few local TNVR groups had partnered with Animal Friends to bring their mobile unit to Washington County, Michelle, and Pat Spahr decided to form FIX’UR CAT and partner with Animal Friends to bring the mobile to additional areas of the county.

They quickly realized that a mobile once or twice a month spaying/neutering 30-60 cats was only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to hosting the mobile, Michelle began transporting cats to Animal Friends on a monthly basis.

FIX ‘UR CAT applied for and was granted a 501c3 status in 2014. They continued to host mobile clinics and transport cats to Animal Friends for several years.

Eventually, the difficulties associated with meeting people in parking lots to pick up cats for transport convinced them that a brick-and-mortar building was needed. So in 2018, they purchased their current location in Canonsburg. Through the continued hard work and dedication of both its founders and volunteers  FIX ‘UR CAT opened their own on-site surgical clinic in August of 2019. The clinic has since expanded to include wellness care. Progressing from 30-60 cats a month, FIX ‘UR CAT performed 3,656 low-cost feline spays-neuters in 2022.

While their achievements and tireless dedication to Washington County felines should be acknowledged and applauded, their goals have not yet been reached.  Michelle has continued her dedication to meeting the needs of the felines of Washington by purchasing a new location in the City of Washington. The newly acquired property, once renovated, will allow FIX’UR CAT to expand their operation’s capacity, and become a high-volume feline spay/neuter clinic.

The opening of the new facility will make the low-cost spay-neuter component of TNVR a reality and allow for a humane solution for the homeless cat population while at the same time helping cats residing with low-income families to stay in their homes rather than being surrendered to a shelter or released to the streets.

This is all possible because of the hard work of dedicated individuals and the determination of FIX UR’ CAT’s founders and voluneers to help the defenseless, voiceless felines of Washington County, their cries have been heard and there is now an Oasis of Hope.

Faith Bjalobok Ph.d
Fellow Oxford Centre Animal Ethics

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