How a Nation of Cat Lovers Can Help Cats

Time to step up for felines during the Saving Pets Challenge and Give Local 2015!

Gainesville, Fla. – Some people call it “kitten season.” Operation Catnip calls it “time to help cats”!

Starting May 4 and running through June 4, Operation Catnip will be looking for a few good cat lovers to keep them spaying/neutering and vaccinating community cats, as well as training veterinarians in their renowned MASH-style clinic model.

Founded by Dr. Julie Levy, director of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, the trap-neuter-return (TNR) program known as Operation Catnip has been running free high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinics for community cats in Gainesville for more than 16 years.

Since its founding in 1998, the organization has cared for more than 45,000 cats. Last year alone, they helped 2,693 cats and prevented the births of a projected 6,142 kittens.

“Our mission is not just about spaying, neutering, and vaccinating cats, but truly caring for them,” said Dr. Levy. “Beyond even that, we want to spread the methods we use that help reduce cat population, control infectious diseases, and improve the lives of the cats.”

The Operation Catnip method is centered on reducing stress for the cats who are trapped by community members and brought to local clinic days. The cats are cared for in stations by volunteer veterinary teams, who examine each cat before performing surgery and vaccinating them. The cats are given an identifying ear tip, treated for fleas and other parasites, allowed to recover from anesthesia, then returned to the area where they were trapped.

This model has been so successful that Operation Catnip was awarded an educational grant from PetSmart Charities to allow them to train veterinarians nationwide, through in-clinic sessions or by making their training materials available online.

“We depend on the donations of our nation’s cat lovers to keep us doing this work,” Dr. Levy said. “It costs $50 to treat just a single cat, and an average of $200 to care for a whole litter of kittens so they won’t have kittens of their own.”

Click here to make a donation!

To learn more about Operation Catnip, visit

Read Operation Catnip’s 2014 Annual Report.


Dr. Julie Levy