Dawn Cowhey and Donna Corcoran are hoping to interact with some of the estimated 9,000 plus unaltered cats in Cecil County.
And now they have a place in which to operate.
The Chesapeake Feline Association's Miss Cat Spay & Neuter Surgical Suite will officially open for business in Perryville later this week. Cowhey, president of CFA, and Corcoran, the organization's grant writer, are volunteers who have worked with others to get the suite open.
Cowhey explained that opening the surgical unit has been in the works for two years. The CFA has been a non profit since 2009. The goal is to spay and neuter the cats in an effort to end free roaming cat breeding. "We've been working on this for two years, to get the suite open and licensed. We went to the Town of Perryville and they've been wonderful," said Cowhey. They took the plan to property owner Ann Jackson. They rent the property and have converted a mobile pod usually used on construction sites into a surgical suite with help from Robert Hodge. They also had to go to the county zoning board for a property variance. "It was a two year labor of love," said Corcoran.
The suite contains an intake area, a pre-surgical prep area, an autoclave, and the surgical area. The suite will primarily focus on spaying and neutering. The plan is to add services for vaccinations and microchipping the animals. The program is grant funded - through the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and both the county and Town of Perryville VLT (Casino) Grants. Those who wish to have their pets altered may buy a voucher for $85 for the services. Surgery dates in August are already filled. The goal is to perform services on 30-50 cats per day with a veterinarian, vet tech, and the trained volunteers. The goal is to eradicate the excessive cat breeding within five years.
"Although we are a low cost clinic, we provide the best care for these animals. Even if they are feral, they are treated with dignity and respect," said Cowhey.
"It's not free. We have to stay open. The grant money doesn't cover the electric, water, and the veterinarians," said Corcoran.
This Thursday, August 9, a celebration will be held at the new location from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. The Cecil County Chamber of Commerce and local officials will attend. The ribbon cutting will be held at noon. The public is invited to tour the suite. The suite is located at 1105 Perryville Road, near Route 40, across from the Royal Farms. To schedule an appointment for a cat call 410-507-0664.
The CFA has another event upcoming - a day to adopt cats. For information about cat adoption day on August 18 go to www.chesapeakefelineassoictaion.org. That cat shelter is located on Irishtown Road, North East.