In 1994, cat lovers and volunteers for Second Chance Pet Adoptions in Raleigh, NC, joined a national effort to reduce feral and stray cat populations through sterilization. The group had a very simple mission; to reduce the feral cat population and relieve the suffering of homeless cats by neutering as many as possible, and returning them to their caretakers and their colonies.
A High-Volume TNR Clinic Run by Volunteers
By 1997, demand for the group’s services was so high that Operation Catnip, a free spay-neuter program for feral cats, was established.
The grass-roots nature of feral cat advocacy groups can make it difficult to consolidate resources and information. Operation Catnip surveyed a number of programs before selecting two established and successful resources to model their procedures after Alley Cat Allies and the Feral Cat Coalition one of the most successful large-scale feral cat spay-neuter programs in the country.
A trip to study the operations at the Feral Cat Coalition clinic in San Diego was instrumental in helping the group design a high-volume clinic run completely by volunteers in borrowed facilities at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University.
Operation Catnip Gainesville of Gainesville
In July 1998, Dr. Julie Levy founded Operation Catnip of Gainesville, a chapter at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Alachua County. Today, OC of Gainesville is one of three spay-neuter programs that owe their roots to the original group of committed cat lovers.