It was a cat day at the sprawling Xavier University campus in downtown Cagayan de Oro on Wednesday, September 15.
Volunteers and members of the Cagayan de Oro Animal Rescue Organization chased the cats all around the campus in Xavier University's 1st spay and neuter campaign.
Their target: 36 alley cats that have made the campus – nearly emptied by the COVID-19 pandemic – their home.
Maria Veronica Large, an employee of Xavier University and one of the volunteers, said they managed to catch only nine adult cats and seven kittens.
“We will continue to look for them in the coming days,” Large said.
The cats that were caught were immediately neutered on the long tables prepared by the volunteers at the Peace Park of the campus.
Dr. Keeno Ian Moralde of the Vets for Pets led the team of at least four veterinarians who participated in the spay and neuter campaign.
Moralde said the cats and kittens were all neutered to control the animal population in the campus.
“Even young kittens can reach sexual maturity in four months,” he said.
Moralde said castration or neutering is helpful to cats.
He said the cats that have been neutered no longer exhibit violent sexual activity and gain weight.
Volunteers sedated the cats before the veterinarians operated on them. The cats slept during the entire procedure, which lasted 45 minutes.
“Cats are always in heat. A female cat can have three litters a year. Each litter averages four kittens,” Moralde said.
Large said the cat population at Xavier University has grown so big that the school administration decided to catch and have them thrown far away.
“I pleaded that spaying the female and castrating the male is a better way than throwing them away,” said Large, who has been feeding the cats in the campus for 10 years.
Large said the school administration relented and agreed to shoulder half of P36,000 needed for the spaying and neutering of the cats.
She said the school also constructed the cages for the cats and provided the Peace Center venue.
Large said donors and animal lovers paid for the remaining 50% of the required funds.
She said neutering a male cat costs P1,000, while spaying female cats costs about P1,500.
Large said the cats will be up for adoption after a healing time of seven days. – Rappler.com
Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship