HARLINGEN — It’s time to “clear the cats” at the Panda Sanctuary.
Typically, today is a clear the shelter day, but that could not be done this year, according to Humane Society officials.
However, all the cats from the Panda Sanctuary are ready for new homes and they will cost just $10. There are a total of about 50 adults cats in the Operation Panda facility across the street from the Humane Society at 1021 Markowsky Avenue.
Due the financial struggles of the Human Society, something needs to happen.
At Operation Panda, it costs about $2,000 per month to house the cats, so cutbacks are needed. That’s why these cats need new homes right away.
The Humane Society of Harlingen started “Operation Panda,” a trap neuter return (TNR) program, on Memorial Day in 2015.
The cats are tested for feline leukemia, FIV and heart worms.
The cats that test negative are vaccinated, spayed or neutered, ear tipped, and in most cases micro-chipped to the area they were trapped.
Of the cats trapped, fixed and released, they experience a 67 percent save rate. A cat in the shelter only has a 10 percent chance of making it out of the shelter alive.
Operation Panda consists of a leased house across the street from the shelter, which has 36 stainless steel cages to house the cats before and after surgery. There are two sanctuaries.
The kitten sanctuary takes the kittens, gets them socialized, and then they go to Petsmart for adoption. The sanctuary with the older cats was built when the society kept trapping abandoned cats; not feral cats.
These cats were far too innocent and adoptable to put back out on the streets.
With the food, litter, trapping supplies, surgery fees, and two employees, Operation Panda is the most expensive but most effective program the facility manages; costing close to $10,000 a month to maintain. Because Operation Panda is funded solely by donations, fundraising is constant.
Housing the cats costs an average of $2,000 a month.
Despite the finances being what they are, the society will continue the TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) program. Starting immediately after surgery the cats that cannot be released where they were trapped will go to the barn program.