117 cats spayed or neutered in surgery marathon

Four people in front of a Fresh Step branded van with a live trap covered with tie-die material
After receiving comprehensive vet care, these cats are ready to live their healthiest lives.
By Christina London

Every day is a busy day at a vet clinic. Between treating sick pets and providing preventative care, there never seems to be enough time. But the team at the Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Bentonville, Arkansas, took it to the next level when they performed 117 spay/neuter surgeries in a single day.

Ready, set, fix

Planning for this marathon day of surgery started weeks in advance. The goal? To spay or neuter as many community cats — cats who live outdoors and spend their days navigating their home neighborhoods — as possible.

Center staff collaborated with four local trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) groups. It’s one of the most important ways that shelters across the country have reached no-kill — by organizations working together to help community cats live happy, healthy lives in their outdoor homes and keep them out of shelters. The Best Friends team provided humane traps to those who needed them and created a flexible surgery schedule because it’s hard to predict exactly how many cats will be trapped.

[A new kind of community to help community cats]

The day started at 6:30 a.m. and included two veterinarians, four vet techs, four volunteers, a clinic manager, and a clinic coordinator. They had to work together as a well-oiled machine, from prepping the cats for surgery to monitoring them as they came out of anesthesia.

Each kitty got what they needed to live their healthiest life. Besides the spay/neuter surgery, they received a rabies vaccine, flea treatment if pesky fleas were spotted, and a good ear cleaning. They were tattooed and ear-tipped, so people would know they were already fixed if they happened to get trapped again. They also had yummy wet food waiting for them after surgery to keep up their blood sugar.

All in a day’s work

At 6:30 p.m., each cat was spayed or neutered and in recovery. “Everyone was super happy and proud that we accomplished this,” says clinic manager Shelby Bagley.

Within the next few days, all 117 cats were returned to the spots where they were trapped. For these beautiful felines, the great outdoors is home.

[Vancouver area felines hit the jackpot]

TNVR is a nonlethal, humane way to effectively manage community cat populations while also addressing common nuisance behaviors, such as spraying and fighting among unneutered males. By preventing future litters, it mitigates the risk of many more cats and kittens ending up in shelters. Spay/neuter events like this one, which was made possible by a grant from Fresh Step, are essential to becoming a no-kill nation.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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