altThis aggressive approach to population control is labor intensive, dependent on volunteers and, literally, a hands-on experience. Scratches on hands are often part of a day’s work, which is, more often than not, beneath porches, in sheds or out on a limb.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer with either Alley Cat Advocates or the Big Fix, there are orientation meetings held at the ACA office at 536 Eastern Pkwy., near Crittenden Drive. The two-hour presentation will help you find your niche in the organization.

Needless to say, the volunteer criteria emphasizes that one must really, really love cats.

“An average Big Fix volunteer loves cats, doesn’t want to add additional cats to their household, is anxious to contribute to making a tangible difference in the lives of cats in their community, and appreciates an efficient way to get this good work done,” says Little.

As reported on ACA’s website,, the Big Fix on March 18 served 159 cats – 89 females and 70 males. Two cats that were too sick to alter went home with “rehab” volunteers to get better before having their surgery. Four 7-day-old kittens and their newly spayed momma went home with a rehab volunteer and will remain there until the kittens are big enough to alter.

Many a tabby or calico who have gone through the Big Fix often make their way back to Dr. Gagnon’s veterinary office, this time in the arms of their newly acquired human companion.

“I am really happy and excited when I get a client in the clinic with an ear-tipped cat. This means they have decided to make it their inside cat,” says Gagnon. “Once neutered and spayed, cats are much less aggressive and roam less. Because of this, they will often become ‘people’ pets. The bad situations like the ice storm can be just the nudge for someone to bring a longtime neighborhood cat inside.”

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