Judy Wells/Paulding County Progress
	Strays like this one can often be tamed with a little food and a lot of patience. To help control the cat population in the county, Nips & Snips of Paulding County Ohio Inc. has organized two low-cost spay/neuter clinics in the Cecil area and is planning more in the future.
Judy Wells/Paulding County Progress Strays like this one can often be tamed with a little food and a lot of patience. To help control the cat population in the county, Nips & Snips of Paulding County Ohio Inc. has organized two low-cost spay/neuter clinics in the Cecil area and is planning more in the future.
By JUDY WELLS

Feature Writer

PAULDING – It’s hard to believe, but every day, nearly 70,000 puppies and kittens are born in the United States. With only 10,000 humans born in that same time period, there will never be enough homes for all those animals. To help reduce the number of cats born in the county, a local organization called Nips & Snips of Paulding County Ohio Inc. has been formed to offer low-cost spay/neuter services.

They have already had two visits from the Neuter Scooter, a mobile spay/neuter program for cats only. Both were in the Cecil area and more are planned in other parts of the county in the future.

Paulding resident Althea “Sam” Clippinger, co-founder of Nips & Snips, says she’s pleased with the response to the program so far.

“The Neuter Scooter veterinarian, Dr. Tess Peavy, is very thorough when she examines a cat,” she said. “In addition to being neutered, each cat gets a complete check-up. If Dr. Peavy notices a problem, she recommends that the owners take the animal to their local vet for follow-up.”

The cost to have a cat neutered is $50 for pets and $30 for feral/wild cats.

The feral cats must be caught and brought to the clinic in a live-trap.

Feral cats are born and raised outside and usually cannot be tamed. They will not approach food that is offered until the human moves from the area or unless they are extremely hungry.

Strays are domestic cats that have been abandoned or lost and will usually eat in the presence of humans. They can often be tamed.

When the Neuter Scooter comes to an area, owners make an appointment to bring their cat, in a carrier, to the designated site. The cats are checked in, services performed, and then the felines are returned to their carriers to recuperate.

Each sterilization takes from five to 20 minutes, depending on the age, gender and size of the cat. Later that day, the cats are discharged back to their owners with post-operative care instructions.

All cats are tattooed in the left ear to alert shelters that the cat has been altered. Females are also tattooed on the belly to let veterinarians know they have been spayed. That way, if the cat is lost and turns up at a vet’s office or a shelter, it has a better chance of being adopted than a non-neutered animal.

Jennifer Martin, who is also a co-founder of Nips & Snips, says we need feral and stray cats in the county to help control rodents, but that they should be neutered to prevent them from over-populating.

“Some people think we should shoot or poison all the feral cats around the county,” she said. “They just don’t realize how many mice and rats we’d have if we did that. The cats create much less of a problem than the rodents would.”

After only being organized for seven months, Nips & Snips has held two neuter clinics, obtained its 501c3 status, acquired a federal non-profit identification number, won third place at the John Paulding Historical Society’s Festival of Trees for their decorated Christmas tree, developed a logo, elected officers and have about 25 people interested in helping.

“We’re coming along wonderfully,” Clippinger said. “I’m not a patient person and I wanted everything to just fall into place right away. But now that things are starting to click, I’m thrilled!

“We have big plans for the future,” she continued. “We’re going to order live-traps soon for people to borrow to trap feral cats, and in the future we’d like to build or buy a shelter. So if anyone has any land or a building they’d like to donate, we’d love to talk with them.”

If you’d like to join Nips & Snips or make a donation, contact Sam Clippinger at 419-399-4079 or make your donation to the Paulding County Area Foundation with Nips & Snips in the memo line.

The 23rd annual World Spay Day, an annual campaign of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, will be Feb. 28. Spay or neuter your pet, or consider supporting projects like Nips & Snips.