Clinic

General Information

Please be aware that our clinic currently has an active wait list of about 6 months. Once you have requested clinic space, you are automatically put on the list in the order your request was received & you will be contacted regarding trapping once your turn has arrived. You do not need to resubmit a clinic request form for the same colony if you are on the wait list; however, each colony requires it's own request. When you are emailed regarding trapping, YOU MUST RESPOND TO THAT EMAIL TO CONFIRM YOU CAN TRAP FOR THAT CLINIC.

Please make sure you are checking your email frequently so you don't miss your chance at clinic .

We highly encourage caretakers with 1 to 3 cats to purchase/apply for vouchers. This allows us to get the larger colonies into the clinic.


Requesting Clinic Space

  1. When filling out the Request Clinic Space form, be sure to use a computer. A smartphone or tablet does not always correctly fill out the form. Be sure to enter your email correctly and check your email for more information. Don’t forget to check your spam/junk folder. Request clinic below.

  2. In the event a caretaker does not have access to the internet to request clinic space, the caretaker should call the main number at (919) 793-6632 and choose Option 1. A volunteer will contact you regarding clinic space. A caretaker without internet access may also ask a friend or family member to request space for them. When filling out the request form for someone else, please fill it out as the person you are requesting the space for. Additionally, you may ask for a PDF version form to be emailed to you.

  3. Once you have requested space, you will be placed on the wait list. You will remain on the wait list until your name comes up. You will then be emailed by the scheduler who will contact you to arrange for space and to confirm you have traps. While you wait, read up on trapping instructions (found on the Trapping page), pre-operative instructions, and discharge instructions, so you understand what to expect.

  4. You will need to request space for each colony you care for (if you care for more than one). Please give as accurate an estimate as you can of how many cats are in each colony. We will reduce your original number in our spreadsheet as you bring cats to clinic. Unless you tell us otherwise, once we have your colony down to zero cats, you are automatically removed from the list at that time. We understand that sometimes cats are dropped off, adding to your colony, or they sometimes leave on their own.

  5. Once you are placed on the clinic caretaker roster to come to clinic, get your traps and prepare to trap the cats for clinic.

  6. Do not come to a clinic without a confirmed registration. Our volume for each clinic is dependent on how many volunteers we have available. Our volunteers do vary from month to month.

  7. Remember, if you'd like to skip the waiting list, we have $50.00 vouchers which can be redeemed at our participating veterinarians at an appointment of your convenience.


Reservation Protocol

  • If you trap no cats, let the scheduler know as soon as you can. You will be placed on the wait list of a future clinic unless you tell us you no longer need the space.

  • If you trap fewer cats than you are registered for, bring what you’ve got. Do not fill in your empty slots by contacting others to use them. We overbook, knowing the overall success rate will be less than 100%.

  • If you are given slots & then realize you are unable to trap/transport, email to let us know you can’t use the slots. We’ll give them to the next caretaker in line on the waiting list.

  • If you do not email us when you are unable to trap/transport, you risk being removed from the list. In an effort to keep our waitlist manageable, 2 no call/no shows will result in your removal from the active list. You are welcome to reapply when you have the time/resources to try again.

  • If two cats inadvertently get caught in one trap, bring an empty trap with you to the clinic. The cats will be separated after they are sedated. Even with multiple cats per trap, you may still only bring the registered number of cats to any one clinic.


Important Points to Keep in Mind:

  • You may not give your spaces to others unless you are part of an organization such as Franklin County SPCA, Safe Haven or other such organization. The clinic scheduler MUST be notified if an organization's spaces have been split in this manner. The name and phone number of the person bringing cats to the clinic under an organization will be provided to the clinic scheduler along with how many spaces that caretaker has been granted.

  • Individuals giving out their spaces does not allow for us to keep accurate records. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, it is important that our records remain current and accurate as to maintain trust with our donors.

  • AT NO TIME WILL CLINIC SPACES EVER BE "SOLD" TO A CARETAKER. Clinic spaces are granted on a first come, first serve basis revolving around established caretakers, new caretakers and volunteers. Funding for our clinic comes through grants and donations made by caretakers and others that support our mission.

Pre-Op Instructions

  1. No food or water after midnight the night before surgery. If a cat may have eaten the morning of surgery, you must let us know since complications could be fatal.

  2. Cats must be at least 3 months old & 3 lbs. If you are not sure, bring the cat so our vets can tell if it is old enough.

  3. Females that have recently had kittens should not be brought in if the kittens are nursing and are too young to be on their own for any length of time. If the kittens are already eating solid or canned food, they should be fine on their own for a day. Be sure to provide them with food during the time that you’ve got Mom in her trap. If the kittens are nursing only and can be caught/trapped and brought with their Mom, then she can be brought in.

  4. Do not put food bowls in the cages, they will not be returned.

  5. Lightly cover the traps to keep the cats calm in holding, but do not block airflow.

  6. Do not transport the cats in pickup trucks or cargo vans or trailers without proper temperature control and protection from the elements.

  7. If you are found to be in violation of these instructions, you risk losing access to future clinics.


Post-Op/Discharge Instructions

The left ear of each cat will be cropped as a permanent mark to indicate an altered, vaccinated community cat.

Recovery

  • Monitor the cats for 24 hours. At the clinic, cats are given a long-acting injection of anesthetic for surgery and many cats will not be fully recovered at the time of discharge, even if they appear to be. Full recovery may take up to 24 hours. You should monitor the cats for a full day following surgery in order to provide the best possible care.

  • Please keep the cats in their traps until at least the morning following the clinic. Even if they appear to be friendly and alert, they need to sleep. This provides protection and security for both the cats and for the people that work with them.

  • Cats should be kept indoors in a temperature-controlled area (between 70 -75°F). Cats cannot regulate their body temperature when coming out of anesthesia.

  • Traps should remain fully covered in a quiet, secure location away from children and other pets. Loose sheets, beach towels or light blankets can be used as covers. Keeping the trap covered reduces the cat’s overall stress as they feel more safe when they can hide.

  • Community cats that are feral are scared of people, strange noises and a lot of activity.

  • DO NOT REACH INTO THE TRAP! Many cats will be groggy and need to sleep overnight. If disturbed, cats may react by biting. If you are bitten or scratched by a cat, you should receive immediate medical attention. Do not release the cat that caused the injury until authorized by your animal control agency.

  • Monitor post-surgical behaviors. Normal behaviors during recovery include deep sleep, head bobbing, wobbly movements, rapid breathing, shivering, agitation and hypersensitivity to light and sound. Bleeding may occur from the ear tip but should stop by the next day. No cat should be released if it still has these signs after 24 hours. Abnormal behaviors include bleeding from the surgery site, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and an inability to awaken from anesthesia.

  • Emergency: If you have any concerns about the recovery of a cat from the time of discharge Sunday to release on Monday only, please call Operation Catnip at 919 228 8579. A volunteer veterinarian or technician will be available to help you. This is an emergency service provided for Operation Catnip caretakers who have concerns about the medical conditions of cats in the immediate post-op period. Under no circumstances should you contact the facility where picked up the cat(s). This clinic kindly leases their surgical space to us; they are not a part of Operation Catnip and cannot assist you.

  • If a cat has a situation that you feel cannot wait for assistance from Operation Catnip, please call your veterinarian or your local pet emergency clinic. Payment of fees for care at another veterinary clinic is the responsibility of the caretakers, not Operation Catnip.


Feeding

  • You will want to restrict food and water for adult cats after surgery. You can give them a small amount of food and water the next morning when they are more awake.

  • Young kittens may be offered a small amount of canned food the night of surgery, if they are fully recovered from anesthesia, to keep their blood sugar normal.

  • Canned food mixed with a little water works well and keeps the cat hydrated. DO NOT LET THE CAT OUR OF THE TRAP! It will be very difficult or next to impossible to get them back in.

  • Uncover part of the trap that you will feed on (front trap door or back gate door, if it has one). Feral cats will move away from the uncovered part of the trap. You want them on the opposite side you are going to feed on.

  • Carefully lift the door about 1 to 2 inches. You want enough room to slide in their food on a small paper plate, plastic lid or something similar. Quickly close the trap door.

  • If you are uncomfortable opening the door or you think the cat may escape, place the paper plate of food on the floor and set the trap on top of it. The food will come up through the wire cage. You can add dry food by dropping it through the top of the cage.

  • Some cats won’t eat wet food and some won’t eat dry. Offer some of each. Anesthesia can also cause some appetite loss and some stressed out cats will not eat at all.


When to Release

  • You can release cats the day after surgery if they are fully awake, clear eyed and physically coordinated.

  • Some cats will need to be kept longer. We will notify you if this happens.


How to Release

  • Make sure to release the cats where they were captured during a time when there is little distractions (early mornings and later evenings).

  • Place the trap on flat ground, facing the direction you want them to go. Point traps away from roads or high traffic areas to prevent the cats from running to them. Partially uncover the trap and give them a few minutes to orient themselves.

  • After a few minutes, pull the door up or off if possible, the completely remove the cover and walk away. Some cats will come out quickly (aka kitty cannon) and others will take a bit longer.


Continuing Care

  • Provide fresh food, water and shelter (especially during the winter months). The cats may disappear for a few hours or days, but they usually return after they have destressed.

  • Vaccine Boosters: Vaccine boosters are available for “graduates” of Operation Catnip. Fill out the form on our website for a revaccination and bring the cat in one year. The cat will receive a 3 year booster of rabies and FVRCP. If this was a kitten less than 4 months old, the rabies vaccination may not be effective due to an immature immune system. The kitten should be brought back in 2 months for an official rabies vaccination and certificate.

Adapted from Alley Cat Allies, The Humane Society, The ASPCA, Safe Care Spay/Neuter Clinic and Operation Catnip guidelines

Alley Cat Allies: www.alleycat.org

Humane Society: www.humanepro.org

The ASPCA: www.aspca.org

Safe Care Clinic: www.safecareclinic.org/?src=safe_haven_menu

Operation Catnip: www.ocraleigh.org


Revaccination

Operation Catnip highly encourages caretakers to re-vaccinate colony members. Trapped cats that have an ear tip can be re-vaccinated with a 3 year rabies vaccine and an FVRCP booster. The cats are NOT examined as part of this service. Please plan on waiting for your colony member. While we do not charge a fee, we do request a $5 donation for re-vaccinations.

Please fill out the form to be placed on the roster for an upcoming clinic.