Mega-MASH is here

  • photo submitted by Animal Balance

    Veterinarians Catherine Silva and Jenn Camili get started on surgeries for the Mega MASH spay and neuter clinic on Kauai.

KOLOA — This time veterinarians and volunteers are going all-out in their effort to spay and neuter as many cats as they can on Kauai.

Through Thursday you can get free surgeries for outdoor cats and surgeries for just $25 for owned pets at either All Saints Church in Kapaa or at the Koloa Missionary Church. Drop off is between 8 and 9 a.m. and pickup is in the early afternoon.

“Bring us (your) cats!” said Animal Balance program director Elsa Kholbus on Monday, a day after both the clinics started up. She said they may have some room for dog surgeries as well, but at a limited number. Cost for dog sterilization is a $60 donation and includes a microchip.

It’s not the first MASH (Mobile Animal Sterilization Clinic) on the island, but it is the first time there’s been more than one location up and running at a time.

And so, it’s been dubbed the “Mega-MASH”.

Animal Balance, a nonprofit organization focused on reducing feral cat and dog populations on islands, partners with organizations like the Kauai Community Cat Project to make the MASH clinics happen — the first occurred on Kauai with an international team of veterinarian volunteers in 2017.

During that first clinic, hosted on the Kauai Humane Society lawn, community and visitor volunteers banded together to sterilize about 600 animals in six days. Since then, they’ve held multiple clinics on Kauai and have grown those numbers to being able to target 800 animals in that timeframe.

The partnership has also spawned a Spay Pod, a semi-mobile clinic that can handle a small amount of surgeries at a time, but can provide that steady, affordable access to sterilization surgeries. The Spay Pod landed on Kauai in January 2019 and reached 1,000 surgeries in June.

Now, the partnership is back on island with an even bigger goal — to sterilize 2,000 cats in one week. That’s why they expanded locations and grew their volunteer base, about 50 international volunteers are currently on island working with the project.

More information:

  1. Uncleaina September 10, 2019 6:20 am Reply

    Oh these people are back on our island. The article makes it sound so awesome that they’re here to spay our pets – but hold up – did you notice that part about dogs? About how they might even be able to spay/ neuter your pet dog? Might. That’s because they’re coming here to do trap neuter release (TNR) on the feral cats. That’s what they mean when they say 2000 cats – 2000 feral cats. These people catch feral cats, do surgery, then take them BACK to the wild where they can continue to spread toxoplasmosis (a major killer of monk seals) and they can continue to eat the endangered birds up in Kokee. I’ve seen recent video of feral cats eating shearwater chicks right here on Kauai this year! And think about it, why are there 50 volunteers coming to Kauai to TNR our feral cats? Nobody here ever asked for them to come – it’s them coming and doing what they want. Could it be basically an expenses-paid trip to Kauai? So re-read the article and notice how they’re not actually saying why they’re spaying 2000 cats. The article doesn’t even mention TNR which is the main thing these outsiders do. And finally, I haven’t noticed even the slightest drop in the number of feral cats despite these people telling us repeatedly how it’s working. They’re killing off our endangered species all so they can come to Kauai and do as they please. 6 monk seals have died of toxoplasmosis in the last year. Don’t support these people!

    1. Kalia Kāne September 10, 2019 7:03 pm Reply


      You have good points. I think it is important to see the bigger picture. I looked into their website and read more about their goals and history. They seem to put the care for ALL animals at the forefront of their minds when tackling this complicated issue. If you read there history page on their website you can see their organization started in the Galapagos Islands with the key goal in mind to reduce the populations of cats and dogs in a humane and compassionate way (instead of shooting or poisoning them, which most of the time poisons wildlife and is also so sad and terrible) in order to help the local wildlife ecosystem thrive.

      TNR over time will directly help wildlife on the island, reduce disease and suffering and is a humane way of helping all animals.

      You can read more on their website.

      From my knowledge it takes more tools, time and resources to fix dogs because they are a different species and are larger. Since there are not as many free roaming dogs on kauai (many are owned as pets) as there are on other islands in the world, it makes sense why they seem to be focusing on owned and feral cats.

      To me it seems like a wonderful initiative. These people are volunteering their time and experience to help us and animals alike.

      1. Uncleaina September 11, 2019 6:21 am Reply

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply but it doesn’t change my opinion. Kauai has the most endangered species of any place in the western world. I think we owe it to them to keep them from going extinct. Cats are not endangered- and feral cats are an invasive species that exists because of human negligence. The links between toxoplasmosis feral cats and monk seals are well documented and yet we keep doing TNR and Kauai Cat project people actively FEED the feral cats all over the island. And many of those cats are not spayed so they DO have kittens. It’s irresponsible to allow endangered species to go extinct (and several have in recent memory) while we’re literally feeding the feral cat population. I can only imagine how much help 50 volunteers could do restoring rare bird habitat up in Kokee, but instead they trap cats then re-release them directly into endangered species habitats. That’s the most irresponsible action possible. So on Kauai you need to pick a side: either support TNR and feeding of feral cats or support the endangered species that exist nowhere else on earth.

    2. Kela September 11, 2019 11:19 am Reply

      They have neutered/spay a lot of pets and not only wild cats. If you are so concerned about toxoplasmosis you should be glad they are neutering wild cats because did you know once you neuter/spay an animal they cant mate and create more? LOL

      BTW educate yourself the monk seals are not native they are from China. Thats why there are no legends etc in the Hawaiian culture about monk seals. One skeleton was found of a monk seal here and now everyone thinks they are native. Non Hawaiians are creating this theory that they are Native its not true.

      Monk seals are not meant to live around humans / other animals thats why we should not keep bringing them to the main 7 Hawaiian Islands!! They should be kept on the other islands that are not occupied with humans.

      1. Uncleaina September 11, 2019 1:48 pm Reply

        I love to educate myself- that’s how I know the Monk Seal was called “llio holo I ka uaua” by ancient Hawaiians. It has lived in the Pacific Ocean for about 10,000,000 years – your idea that it has been invented by non-Hawaiians is completely false, unless you think they just never noticed it. It is found in several legends. Its habitat is only in the Pacific primarily around the Hawaiian Archipelago – not found in China and never has been. You seem to mix up the story of the first skull that was found by Western science in 1899 on Laysan Island and that led to the taxonomic name – but the seals have been here since pretty much the islands came out of the ocean.

  2. Who is stopping you September 10, 2019 2:29 pm Reply

    They are doing something. It might not go as far as you wish, but it goes in that direction. No one is stopping you from organizing and funding your preferred solution.

  3. Uncleaina September 11, 2019 6:23 am Reply

    I have worked on several initiatives and am working on more. Feeding feral cats on State property is now illegal for example.

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