The Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, locally known as WAIF, is launching a new program to help both cat owners afford veterinary expenses and kittens get off to a good start while preventing unexpected litters.
The program is called “Break the Cycle.” WAIF shelter manager Shari Bibich said there is a high population of unwanted pets on Whidbey Island. That population is only growing now that kitten season has begun, and according to The Seattle Times, it’s going to be a boom year.
The Times reported that between the mild winter, which allowed cats to wander freely outdoors, and the pandemic, which prevented many cat owners from making spay and neuter appointments, Washington will soon be seeing a bumper crop of kittens. If these kittens aren’t properly cared for, the local unwanted pet population could take off.
That’s why WAIF created Break the Cycle. Through this program, when a pet owner’s cat has kittens, the owner can surrender the kittens to WAIF. Not only will WAIF microchip, vaccinate and spay or neuter the kittens and put them up for adoption, it will also provide a voucher to the cat owner to pay for them to spay the mother cat.
The program’s purpose, Bibich said, is threefold. First, the program vouchers can help cat owners who might not be able to afford to spay or neuter their cats because of high veterinary costs.
Second, by spaying or neutering both the mother and kittens, Break the Cycle will “really make a dent in some of these unwanted pet populations” on Whidbey Island, Bibich said.
Third, by providing the spay voucher, WAIF incentivizes cat owners not to dump and leave kittens outside. Abandoned kittens who never receive socialization cannot be adopted, and they go on to produce more wild kittens. Kittens brought to WAIF will be provided medical treatment and placed in a loving home.