KAPAA — Animal Balance’s new semi-mobile spay and neuter pod is opening its doors to the public the first week in January.
Appointments are now being taken for surgeries for $50 each, which includes a microchip; vaccines can be added for $10.
The Spay Pod is a project that’s been ongoing in partnership with Kauai Community Cat Project (KCCP), with volunteers and staff members working together.
“It’s small and compact, but there is room for three people in there at three stations,” said KCCP’s Basil Scott.
The pod has been part of Animal Balance’s vision of managing feral or community cats on the island. The nonprofit focuses on community-based cat and dog management programs for island communities around the world.
Animal Balance has partnered with local organizations since 2015 and hosted three spay/neuter clinics on Kauai, sterilizing more than 600 cats and dogs in 2017 and more than 800 cats this September in Kilauea and Kapaa.
During that campaign, Elsa Kohlbus, spokeswoman for Animal Balance, said the Spay Pod was already purchased but fundraising was ongoing for equipment and staff.
The goal is that the Spay Pod will be open to the public two or three days a week and have the capacity to sterilize 20-35 cats a day.
All cats will be sterilized, microchipped and vaccinated, and community cats will be ear-tipped.
For the first three months, the Spay Pod will be at All Saints’ Church in Kapaa. Animal Balance is working on finalizing a location.
“We are not sure if this will be the permanent location yet,” Kohlbus said. “It is not yet open to the public and we do not have an exact date of when it will be open, but we hope it will be very soon.”
A small staff of a veterinarian, a veterinary technician and volunteers to help monitor the cats are streamlining practices within the Spay Pod and working to get everything ready to open to the public.
“It’s important to have the volunteers watching the cats because you give them a sedative before they are anesthetized and you have to watch their breathing,” Scott said. “Then there’s a recovery tent outside.”
The pod’s purpose is to leverage the traction Animal Balance’s clinics have created in sterilizing Kauai’s feral cat population by providing a more regular service.
“It will build on the foundation of support that these campaigns developed, utilizing local volunteers to assist the staff of one veterinarian and one veterinary technician, who are highly trained in high volume spay/neuter procedures,” Kohlbus said.
The overall goal is to sterilize 70 percent of cats in each of the island’s community colonies, which would trigger the evening out and eventual shrinking of the population.
“If we could sterilize 40 cats twice a week for the rest of the year, we’d be able to change the balance of fertile versus sterile, and that’ll make a difference in the stray animal population,” Scott said.
Kohlbus said Animal Balance has another plan or two up their sleeves to help with sterilization, but those are “still in the early planning stages, so we can’t really provide too many details.”
“We are, however, dedicated to continuing to provide spay/neuter services (for cats in particular) to the community,” Kohlbus said.
The Spay Pod will be open two days per week (Monday, Wednesday or Friday, with the schedule varying weekly) to provide lifesaving sterilization surgeries for both owned and community cats. All proceeds collected from surgery will be used to directly support and sustain the Spay Pod.
To make an appointment, email email@example.com or call (808) 650-2720.