Donna Lasser, founder of CAAT and the team’s leader, had a positive outlook for the day. “We’ve got a really great team. We’re all working swell together. Yesterday we managed to spay and neuter twelve cats and dogs and we expect things to pick up considerably today. It’s much hotter and sunnier and more humid, and we’re going to have a full day of work.” She rewarded the team members with freshly squeezed juices (watermelon, pineapple and orange) from the neighbouring vendor.
Prior to the entire team's arrival, Barb and Caitlin, through word of mouth, were able to pinpoint the areas of the island where cats reside. “A lot of people in the poorer areas teach their dogs to kill cats. Wherever the dogs tend to go, there tend to be fewer cats,” Caitlin observed. Barb and Corinne have been managing the trapping situation, catching feral males predominantly.
After dark, the traps are baited and set up at specific sites. Caitlin explained, “We check the traps first thing in the morning when it gets light. If we’ve caught a cat, we check to see if it has a tip of its ear cut off. That means that it has been done already. If it has been done, we release it. If it hasn’t, then we take it back to Madi and she’ll check and see if it has been done, because not all of them that are done have ear tips. Then we get it ready for surgery.”
Many of the local children have become involved with CAAT’s cat-catching efforts. “We’ve had a lot of help from kids in trapping. So we’re trapping a bunch of cats from behind the bakery here. The kids have been great taking traps there and bringing us cats," Caitlin said.
Today and yesterday, the team treated four puppies out of a litter of eleven, re-hydrating them with fluids, sugar water and canned food. The puppies were separated from their mother prematurely at only four weeks and the family that owned the puppies' mother has since moved off the island. The new owners (mostly children) have been given clear instructions on how to care for the young pups, promising to bring the puppies back daily for checks.
“Today was amazing,” said Monica.“It feels so great to spay and neuter all these cats and dogs.” The day’s totals included 1 dog neuter, 2 dog spays, 6 cat spays and 6 cat neuters, as well as the removal of a lump and aural hematoma on a feline and the euthanization of a large sea bird: “It had been attacked by cats a couple days ago and the lady had been keeping it at her house. Its legs were mangled.They almost chewed one leg off," said Chris.
If the team needed any evidence of their impact so far on the island and its residents, they got it while walking along the strip this afternoon. A local vendor called out to members of the team: “Thank you for coming to our country and helping the animals!”