Spring is full of blooming flowers, sunny days, and those cute, wobbly baby animals taking their first steps into the warm air. But those baby animals don’t start and stop with fawns, colts and lambs. Kittens start to “spring” up as the season changes, too.
Habersham County Animal Care and Control (HCACC) Director Madi Nix begs the community every year to spay and neuter their pets; it’s a simple surgery that saves dozens of lives. As the weather warms up, Nix and her staff start receiving multiple pregnant cats and sick, abandoned kittens for intake nearly every day.
“We beg every year,” Nix wrote in a Facebook post after processing multiple pregnant cats just last week. “Please do not wait until they become pregnant, have kittens, or the number of cats becomes overwhelming to you before action is taken. It’s overwhelming to us as well.”
HCACC in conjunction with Planned PEThood, a metro Atlanta nonprofit, have put on three free veterinary clinics for the community to help provide free and discounted spay and neuter to pet owners in Northeast Georgia. These clinics are helping with the problem, but it hasn’t been solved.
The number of feral, abandoned and outdoor cats in Habersham County that are unaltered and are breeding continue to overwhelm shelters. And while some members of the public want to help those cats, feeding them without making sure they aren’t breeding is just as irresponsible, according to Nix.
“If you feed- please don’t let them breed,” Nix says. “Turn in the one cat that shows up. We can help! … Their lives depends on us being proactive. Together. Community and Animal Control.”
She says the pregnant mothers and their kittens have slim chances of survival, and that the community has to be proactive in ending the problem.
“Yeah, kittens are cute, but … the chance of this baby making it to see adoption age coming into a shelter is slim. And not because of Euthanasia,” Nix says. “Babies this tiny can’t handle the stress and germs [of an animal shelter]. Neither can their mothers. And who wants to foster a feral cat with newborns?”
They have a slim chance of survival in feral cat colonies, too. But the ones that do survive have more kittens, and more kittens, and the cycle continues. Kittens end up abandoned, mothers get ill, and HCACC is doing the best they can to save them.
“Today, we will let you call us names, berate us and call us useless and murderers, remind us that we are here to do as you say- since we are public servants,” Nix says. “All while we hold in our hands little lives- so they have a chance to know what a kind touch is- and pray that their lives will change for the better. Starting now.”
If you need help finding a way to spay or neuter your pet, contact the shelter so they can help. Nix says it’s the most impactful way to save lives.
“If you need help, please reach out, before it’s them that suffer the consequences for our human actions,” she says.
If you’re interested in adopting, fostering or donating to the Habersham County Animal Shelter, please call the shelter at (706) 839-0195. You may also visit them in person Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to Noon & 1-5 p.m. or on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check out their Facebook page for more information.