It's kitten season on the Central Coast, and we're bracing ourselves for it by hosting a four-day-long “St. Catrick’s Day” Weekend celebration from March 17-20, 2022, that will include a Kitten Shower donation drive, a virtual webinar about fostering and kitten care needs, and an adult cat adoption promotion to help make room in the shelter for kittens.
The festivities come in anticipation of the beginning of a long local kitten season that typically spans from March through October or later. This is the time of year when unaltered outdoor cats begin to reproduce, resulting in high numbers of found and surrendered kittens coming into the shelter.
Woods cared for 752 kittens last year, including 326 that needed foster care until they were old enough to be spayed or neutered and made available for adoption. The influx of kittens requires an increase in the shelter’s foster volunteers, kitten and foster care supplies, and medical support. By early summer, Woods’ catteries are often at full capacity, with adoptions lagging behind the number of local cats and kittens in need of help.
“In spite of the thousands of spay and neuter surgeries we perform annually, and our monthly dedicated effort to sterilize unowned, outdoor community cats in particular (through our Project M.E.O.W subsidy), we still see hundreds of homeless kittens in need of help each year. Many of them come to us ill and malnourished and require specialized, round-the-clock care in order to survive,” says Woods Humane Society CEO Neil Trent. “We rely on the kindness, compassion, and generosity of the local community in order to provide the resources needed to save and find homes for these fragile young animals.”
We've created a Kitten Shower “Registry” of our most-needed items, such as kitten electrolyte supplements, heating pads, bottle warmers, syringe feeders, and more, at www.WoodsHumane.org/KittenShower. We also invite the public to attend a free, live “shower” and informational session on Sunday, March 20, at 11 a.m., where a panel of Woods kitten experts will show some of the kittens currently in the shelter’s care; discuss foster, volunteer, and donation needs; as well as demonstrate common kitten volunteer tasks such as bottle-feeding, weighing and more. To register for the free webinar, visit www.WoodsHumane.org/Event/Virtual-Kitten-Shower.
For more information, visit www.WoodsHumane.org or call (805) 543-9316. Woods Humane Society is located at 875 Oklahoma Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 and at 2300 Ramona Rd., Atascadero, CA 93422.
Woods Humane Society is partnering with national nonprofit Petco Love to give pets their best shot for a healthy life by hosting two free pet vaccine clinics this month, on March 12 and March 26, 2022.
Petco Love established March as “National Pet Vaccination Month” to encourage pet parents to keep their pets up to date on vaccinations and will provide free DAPPv Canine and HCP Feline vaccines to Woods Humane Society for family pets in need. As puppy and kitten season approaches, pet exposure to contagious and deadly diseases – parvovirus, distemper, and panleukopenia – increases, but their risk of contracting these diseases is preventable with a simple vaccine.
Woods Humane Society aims to vaccinate 400 pets through this effort. The free vaccine events will take place on Saturday, March 12 and Saturday March 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its North County clinic location (2300 Ramona Road, Atascadero). In order to participate, local pet owners must schedule a Wellness Appointment at the North County clinic location, online, in advance for one of the two available dates. Space is limited and subject to availability. The free DAPPv Canine and HCP Feline vaccines will also be offered to owned pets scheduled for low-cost spay or neuter appointments at Woods clinics during the month of March.
“Thanks to Petco Love, we can offer these important vaccines at no cost to pet owners,” said Alessandra Belloumini, Woods Veterinary Services Manager. “We urge community members to take advantage of this free resource to help reduce the spread of disease and ensure the health and wellness of our community’s pets.”
The Give Pets Their Best Shot initiative makes crucial pet vaccines accessible to pet parents who may be experiencing financial challenges and assures that cost is not a barrier to protecting pets from preventable diseases.
“Treatment for these deadly diseases can be prohibitively expensive for many pet parents,” said Susanne Kogut, Petco Love President. “By providing free vaccines to those in need, we can help these pets live a healthy life. Through this national effort and our other Petco Love Care initiatives, we continue our 22-year history of strategic investments and innovation to end unnecessary pet euthanasia.”
National Pet Vaccination Month is a continuation of Petco Love’s 1 million free pet vaccine campaign, which has helped 400,000 pets to date. Fifty percent of participating pet parents surveyed reported their pets had never been vaccinated against these diseases. With Bissell Pet Foundation as an additional partner this month, Petco Love’s goal is to increase awareness and accelerate the distribution of vaccines.
To book a Wellness Appointment for one of the free vaccine clinics, visit Woods’ online booking system. For more information, please visit www.SpaySLOCounty.com or call 805-464-5034. Learn more about Petco Love’s national vaccine effort and lifesaving impact at petcolove.org or freepetvaccines.org.
It's National Spay & Neuter Awareness Month and World Spay Day (February 22) and Woods Humane Society is raising funds for, and awareness about, one segment of the local pet population that needs the community’s help most: unowned cats.
According to Dr. Leslie Sklena, Woods Director of Veterinary Medicine, unowned “community cats” are perhaps the most voiceless and helpless of all of the homeless animals in our community. “They go unseen,” she says, explaining that some of these cats are feral, while others are friendly neighborhood visitors, roaming freely outdoors. “People don’t always get to pet them or cuddle them,” she says, but they need help nonetheless.
Thanks to our donor-supported Project M.E.O.W fund, Dr. Sklena's team at Woods sterilized and treated 1,467 community cats last year alone—a number that represents only a fraction of those in need of veterinary services.
Many of the cats came to one of our two low-cost clinic locations, in Atascadero and in San Luis Obispo, on a monthly Tip It Tuesday, a day devoted to providing community cats with a spay/neuter surgery along with an identifying ear-tip and a rabies vaccine—all for the steeply reduced fee of $25.
Local Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) organizations and Good Samaritans bring in the community cats for what is presumably their first and only veterinary appointment of their lives. For this reason, Woods’ medical staff takes the time to thoughtfully assess and treat each individual feline. Dr. Sklena’s team, for instance, has helped community cats in need of tail amputations or wound sutures before being re-released, and have identified more social cats and kittens that were candidates for Woods’ adoption program.
One such unowned cat, Sequoia (pictured), quickly won the hearts of the Woods team recently with her sweet demeanor. Thanks to Project M.E.O.W., she received extensive treatment for a broken leg that might have otherwise gone untreated, and ended up getting adopted by a staff member.
Woods says that the population of community cats can grow quickly without TNR efforts and subsidized spay and neuter programs: Cats can start reproducing at just five months of age, and can have up to three litters per year. In advance of kitten season, which begins in the spring, and in honor of World Spay Day, we are asking the community for help keeping the Project M.E.O.W fund high enough to meet the local need to help cats like Sequoia and thousands of other nameless felines in our county.
Donations to support Project M.E.O.W. can be made at WoodsHumane.org/donate/project-meow/. For more information about scheduling a subsidized surgery for a community cat, visit WoodsHumane.org/spay-neuter/community-cats/. Woods Humane Society also provides low-cost medical services for publicly owned pets and for the homeless dogs and cats available for adoption at Woods or at SLO County Animal Services. All told, our clinics altered 6,195 animals last year. For information about scheduling a spay or neuter surgery for owned pets, please visit SpaySLOCounty.org.