About the Sessions: 2015 Community Cat Management


Virtual Tour of Operation Catnip

Operation Catnip is a free spay/neuter program for community cats based at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida.  Once a month, cat caregivers trap up to 250 cats for neutering at the clinic, which is staffed primarily by volunteers.  The Community Cat Management course utilizes the Operation Catnip clinic to give participants practical hands-on experience in each step of the clinic. This session will include a virtual tour of the Operation Catnip community cat spay/neuter clinic procedures from cat intake to discharge and all the steps in between.

Feline Castration

Patient selection, preparation, and surgical technique are essential elements of high quality neutering services for cats. Careful attention to details of care and technique will enhance safety, efficiency, and patient comfort. This presentation will review these essential clinical elements, which are necessary for the best possible patient outcomes when cats undergo surgical castration.

Feline Spay

Ovariohysterectomy is a cornerstone in effective community cat management programs. This presentation focuses on high-quality, high-volume surgical techniques that increase efficiency in surgical management of these patients, thus decreasing anesthesia and surgical times.

Dry Lab: Instrument Handling, Knots, Cord Ties, Ovarian Pedicle Ties

In order to learn special surgical knots used for spaying and neutering, participants will first view short video clips of the various knot tying procedures and then practice them using instruments and models. Step-by-step demonstrations and mentored practice will provide an opportunity to practice and master these techniques prior to performing actual surgery on live patients.

Clinical & Surgical Rotations

Participants will spend two days rotating through each of the nonsurgical station of the mass neutering clinic and have hands-on application of all procedures that are performed during the clinic.  Two days will be spent performing spay and neuter surgery with mentor surgeons who will focus on guiding participants in surgical technique and efficiency.

Anesthesia, Analgesia, & Monitoring for Mass Cat Neutering

In this session, commonly used methods for anesthesia in mass neutering programs will be reviewed. Factors such as predictability, ease of use, safety, reversibility, and duration of effect will be discussed. Data from large studies of peri-operative mortality in cats will be presented with discussion of how neutering programs can use this information to identify and minimize risk factors.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) of Community Cats

In this session, the techniques and principles of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in community cats will be discussed. The practical aspects and limitations of performing CPR in community cats will be emphasized as well.

Surgical Complications

Complications are a potential occurrence in any surgical procedure.  Evaluating the probable causes of these complications prospectively can provide an effective management strategy for these incidents.  This presentation will address various intra-operative and post-operative complications from the perspective of developing an avoidance strategy.

Is This Cat Really Feral?

It can be challenging to differentiate truly feral cats from those that are tame but very frightened and reactive, especially when they have been trapped.  Even the tamest house cats that are trapped or otherwise very stressed may exhibit the same behaviors as feral cats.  In this lecture, we will explore how one might distinguish feral cats from “scaredy cats.”

Cat Colony Management

Proper management of a feral cat colony is a long term, year round responsibility and should not be undertaken lightly.  Goals of colony management include: humane control of the cat population, ensuring cat welfare, educating the public and mediating concerns.  Common caregiver concerns involve kittens, pregnant cats, lactating cats, sick/injured cats, and construction/environmental changes at colony sites.  Common community complaints include such issues as flea and insect control and excluding cats from certain sites.  This presentation will include a discussion of taming feral kittens and colony relocation.

The Art of Cat Trapping & Safe and Sane Cat Handling

Because of their lack of socialization, capture and handling is extremely stressful for feral cats.  Proper education and equipment are keys to minimizing the feline stress response and keeping caregivers and cats safe.  Safe and humane protocols for both in-field capture and in-clinic handling, as well as detailed plans every step of the way through holding and release, are requisites of proper cat care.

Medical & Surgical Considerations for Community Cat Programs

Many community cat programs share a common goal to neuter as many cats as possible.  Even with that simple goal, numerous other medical concerns are commonly encountered including what cats are eligible, how to manage complicated sterilization procedures, treatment of illnesses and trauma, provision of routine preventive health care, testing for infectious diseases, and ongoing care for cats following return to the field.  This session will discuss strategies for balancing the needs of each cat with the needs of the program to reach as many cats as possible.

Determination of Reproductive Status

Accurate identification of the gender and reproductive status of queens and tomcats is frequently a clinical challenge.  Cats with unknown histories are commonly presented to sterilization clinics and accurate determination of their gender and reproductive status is crucial for delivery of proper care. Various methods of identification have been utilized to identify surgically sterilized cats—unfortunately, none of these methods are uniform or widespread in their use.  Evidence of a surgical incision from previous ovariohysterectomy or neutering may be lacking, particularly if the cat was neutered at a very young age.  In some instances, cats undergo unnecessary anesthesia and surgery, only to reveal that previous ovariohysterectomy or castration was performed.

Cryptorchidism, Uterus Unicorni & other Anomalies

Routine spay and neuter surgeries are a common element in any community cat management program; however, anomalies of the reproductive tract can be anything but routine and can be seen fairly frequently.  The presentation will address some of the more commonly encountered anomalies and review the surgical approaches utilized to address them.

Community Cat Management

Cats have been living at the periphery of human societies for more than 10,000 years.  Over that time they have adapted to a variety of environmental niches and have been viewed as both a benefit and a threat to communities and the environment.  In this session the number and impact of cats and will be discussed.  Various management strategies that have been used for cats will be compared.