If you have been on St. Croix for any amount of time you have probably noticed the abundance of feral cats in the residential neighborhoods, hanging around local restaurants and hotels, and even living near some of the beaches. While feral cats appreciate free food, and some will even tolerate some human contact, it is important to control the population of these ‘wild’ outdoor cats for a number of reasons. In an effort to do so, the Sunshine Foundation, founded by veterinarian Dr. Stacia Jung, has a wonderful program low-cost sterilization program that I learned about and promptly used!
As with many of the people I have met here on St. Croix, I now have an ‘island cat’ we call Lonna. Lonna showed up in my driveway one day and being the kind of person that cannot stand to see an animal starving, I started feeding her…now she has sort of adopted me and my husband! However, having heard so much about the cat overpopulation on the island, we at least wanted to make sure she was spayed so that she didn’t add to the over abundance of unwanted feral cats. While out and about one day, we saw a flyer for the Sunshine Foundation program through the Sugar Mill Veterinary Center which allows you to bring in feral cats and have them sterilized for only $25, so I called and made an appointment right away!
When I took Lonna in, Liz was working the front desk. She greeted us warmly and told me a little bit about the Sunshine Foundation program as I checked Lonna in. I thought they would simply spay Lonna, which was quite a deal at $25, but their program includes much more than just sterilization! In addition to the spaying or neutering, they also run blood tests for both the Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDs viruses, give them a vaccination, de-worm them and tip the cats ear (which I learned is the commonly recognized indication that a feral cat has already been sterilized in case they are ever trapped again). I dropped off Lonna at 8:30am and when I picked her up at 4:00pm both Liz and Dr. Stacia Jung told me that Lonna was doing really well. Dr. Jung also personally thanked me for bringing Lonna in to be spayed, and stressed the importance of controlling the feral cat population. Both Liz and Dr. Jung were very caring and obviously love animals and have their best interest at heart.
As for Lonna, two days post-surgery she was back to sunning in the driveway like a very happy kitty. If you have ‘adopted’ or trapped a feral cat that has not been spayed or neutered, I would recommend that you take them into Sugar Mill Veterinary Center and utilize this wonderful program offered by the Sunshine Foundation every Tuesday and Thursday. Thank you so much to Dr. Stacia Jung and the staff of Sugar Mill Veterinary Center for taking such care of Lonna, and for offering this amazing program to help our island control the feral cat population!
Read more about The Sunshine Foundation at their website, where you can also make a donation. All donations are directed straight to the source, covering the cost of spay and neuter surgery to public animals. In the 8 years since The Sunshine Foundation began in 2009, Dr. Jung has personally done spay/neuter surgery on thousands of feral cats.
– Jennie Ogden, Editor