What is Homeless Animals Relief Project? Homeless Animals Relief Project is a 501(c) nonprofit charity dedicated to reducing cat overpopulation and the associated suffering, starvation, disease, and death through animal birth control surgery. Founded in 1996 and incorporated in 2000, HARP provides very low cost or free spay/neuter surgery to cats living with the poor, and to feral cats.
How much does it cost to get my cat fixed? We ask all qualified callers to pay as they are able towards the cost of their cat's care, in order for us to help as many cats as possible. A few owners can give nothing, but others give $10-$50 per cat, some even more. Occasionally we can offer the surgery at no cost when financial need is proven. We do not turn away owners who cannot pay, we will work with you to get the cat fixed.
How can I qualify to get this reduced cost care for my cat? We accept proof of public assistance such as food stamps or MediCAID, SSI, VA Disability, unemployment, workers comp, WIC, SNAP, etc. Others qualify by meeting federal poverty guidelines, or with special financial circumstances. Please call if you are unsure if you qualify. If you qualify, we'll ask you to text a copy of your documentation for our records before we confirm the surgery.
Can I get a discounted spay or neuter at Homeless Animals Relief Project if I'm not low income but don't want to pay so much for a cat spay or neuter? No, due to the volume of requests for assistance by the less fortunate, we are unable to offer discounted care for those who simply want to pay less. SpayMemphis 901-324-3202 offers discounted spay/neuter and discounted vaccines for both cats and dogs.
Can I reschedule my cat's surgery appointment after I missed it? Don't miss your appointment! We are unable to reschedule missed appointments—it costs the veterinarian money and inconveniences everyone. Please give us 24 hours notice if your plans change and you are unable to keep the appointment we scheduled for you. If you do not show for your appointment but missed it due to an actual emergency involving blood or smoke, we can consider rescheduling it. You may be asked to pay a $50 refundable deposit before it is rescheduled. Your deposit is returned when you bring your cat in for surgery. If you miss the second appointment, your $50 will be retained and considered to be a donation.
I have cats who need homes.Do you operate a rescue? We do not operate a rescue service or a shelter; we are focused on spay/neuter to eliminate overpopulation which exponentially reduces the need for rescue. We are unable to take in unwanted cats. Sadly, we are unable to place kittens or cats, as everybody who wants a cat already has one.
Where are you located? Our volunteers return calls from their homes on their own time. We do not have an office or clinic that is accessible to the public.
What is your service area? Our first priority is Tate County residents, but we also serve cat owners from Desoto, Marshall, Tunica, Quitman, Panola, Lafayette Counties and areas even further away.
Is there a limit on the number of cats I can get fixed? Repeated requests from the same household or owner for free or low cost spay/neuter are evaluated on a case by case basis, but in general we are unable to provide ongoing low-cost veterinary spay/neuter care over the years for people who simply continue to acquire cats. However, when there are feral colonies or community cats who need help, we are always willing to consider how we can help. Please call.
Can I get my cat declawed when I bring him or her in for spay surgery? NO! Declawing is a painful procedure with zero benefit to the cat. Declawing involves amputations, as if you had your finger chopped off at the first joint above your fingernail. Unlike human nails, cats’ claws are attached to the last bone in their toes, and that bone must be severed to remove the nail. Considered cruel by many, declawing is banned in many countries and in some states in the US. It is done only for an owner's preference and convenience. Declawed cats have an increase in behavioral issues such as biting and house-soiling. The procedure causes pain and can cause arthritis. Declawed cats find their options tightly restricted when they must be re-homed, because they can only live indoors once they've had these painful amputations. We believe that if you can afford to purchase this unnecessary surgery for your cat, you do not need Homeless Animals Relief Project to help you bear the cost of a necessary, health-promoting procedure such as spay/neuter. Scratching is a normal behavior in a cat. There are humane alternatives to declawing, including cardboard scratchers and glue-on nail covers.
Can I get other services like nail trim or worming when I bring my cat in? You can ask about the cost of these services and pay for them yourself when you drop your cat off for surgery. Only the spay or neuter surgery is covered by Homeless Animals Relief Project and your copay. We do provide a three year rabies vaccination to all cats who come under our care. We do not provide a certificate or tag. If you would like to purchase a rabies tag or certificate, you can do so at your expense at the clinic when your cat has surgery.
Can my cat be fixed even if she could be pregnant? YES! It's a humane choice to get your cat spayed if she has been bred. Mid-south area shelters must euthanize kittens and cats by the hundreds every month. There is absolutely no reason to allow any cat to litter under these circumstances. Even if you plan to keep the kittens or believe you can place them, every home you find for your cat's offspring closes the door to a home for a kitten already in a shelter—and opens the door to the euthanasia room. Spaying pregnant cats is safe, supported, and endorsed by all major national and international cat welfare organizations.
Why do you ask me to keep my cat's kittens until you can get them fixed? I don't want them and need to get them into other homes. Getting those kittens out of your house solves your problem, but doesn't reduce cat overpopulation, which is our mission. That's why if your cat has a litter with her, we'll ask you to keep all of them until they can be fixed around 8 weeks of age. If you give the kittens away before they are fixed, the cycle of kittens having kittens repeats. The new owners may plan to get the cat fixed, but then find they cannot pay the cost, or they lose interest in the kitten, or they give the kitten away, or the kitten is pregnant at 5 months because they thought she couldn't get pregnant so young, etc. Getting kittens fixed at 8 weeks before they go to new homes guarantees they will never be a part of the litter-suffer-litter cycle. It helps your community too.
Why do you want me to bring in my male cats for surgery? They're not the ones having kittens. Male cats can father dozens of kittens per year, and no female cat can produce a litter without a male cat. Male cats may spread disease and suffer serious injuries while fighting to breed or roaming for mates. It's the kind thing to do, and best for your community too.
Where will I take my cat for the surgery? We have participating veterinarians in Shelby County, Panola County, and Lafayette County.
I don't want the cat in my car. Can't you provide pickup and delivery? No, we are unable to provide pick up and delivery service to get your cat to surgery. You should ask a friend or relative if they can drive your cat for you. However, on a rare occasion we may have a volunteer who can meet an owner in Senatobia and drive the cat on for surgery.
Will you fix my neighbor's cats? They're all over my property. You should ask your neighbor to call 662-292-0922. We'll be happy to see if we can help.
How much does it cost to get feral (wild, unsocialized) cats fixed? If the cats have a caregiver who will commit to monitoring and feeding the cats we will bear most of the cost of getting the cats fixed and vaccinated. We do expect that the caregiver will donate what they are able to help offset costs.
How old must my cat be to get fixed? We have vets specializing in early age spay neuter. They can be fixed as early as 8 weeks, when they weigh about two pounds.
I have a stray cat hanging out on my patio. I can't catch the cat though, and I'm not sure who it belongs to. What should I do? Get the cat to a vet ASAP! If the cat isn't social, you can purchase a humane trap for $30-50 online, at Tractor Supply, or Home Depot. If you cannot afford to get the cat to a vet and are willing to allow the cat to live at your home, we can loan you a trap and help cover the cost of vetting. Never wait—it is much easier and faster for us to help when there is just ONE cat, rather than waiting until there are eight cats after a litter. Even if you suspect someone else owns the cat, there is no reason for a roaming cat to be fertile in America. Sterilization benefits the community and the cat.
I can't pick up this cat, she will scratch me. Can't I just lure the cat into a crate with some food and then take it to a vet? You may be able to lure the cat into the crate and slam the door, but that means someone at the vet clinic is going to have to stick their face and hands in to remove a frightened and poorly socialized cat, which can result in injury to the staff and the terrified cat getting loose in the clinic. It is safer for everyone if a feral or poorly socialized cat arrives in a humane trap. How do I know Homeless Animals Relief Project is a legitimate charity? Go to irs.gov, click on "charities", and you will see our 501(c)3 status verification. 501(c)3 status is granted by the IRS after lengthy application and their review of your records over several years. You can also go to guidestar.org; Homeless Animals Relief Project is rated at the silver level of trust, the highest level our small charity can achieve without a formal paid audit.
What happens to the money I give? All money donated to Homeless Animals Relief Project goes into a checking account from which the fees for the cats' birth control surgeries are paid. NO money goes to administrative costs or fundraising. We have a benefactor who covers our office expenses (phone, paperwork, postage, web hosting, etc.) The vets we work with are providing their professional care at deeply discounted prices, or at times, for free. This means 100% of your donation always goes directly to the care of the animals.
Who are the staff of Homeless Animals Relief Project? We have no paid staff. Volunteers answer the phone from their homes in addition to taking care of their jobs, homes, families, and pets. Volunteers also come to help at our spay days, and to drive cats to their appointments sometimes for those who are unable to drive. The veterinarians working with us are licensed in the State of MS and experienced in spay/neuter.
Who is the highest paid person in your organization? No one in this organization is paid. Everyone is a volunteer.
Why should I donate to help cats get fixed? Cats are phenomenal reproducers; some female cats in this area can produce four litters per year. Male cats can father dozens of kittens per year. Cats can begin to reproduce between 4-6 months of age, so kittens born in spring litters will deliver their own litters by fall. Spay/neuter is the proactive choice to stop litters for whom there will be no homes. America is not able right now to adopt its way out of cat overpopulation. Prevention of litters is the most cost-effective, efficient, and easiest way to help stop animal suffering. If your cats are fixed, please consider donating to help us fix more cats living with the poor.
I'd like to learn more about how I can help cats in my neighborhood or community. Where should I start? Get your copy of the book $5 For A Cat Head, written by our Director. It's packed with 25 years of experience and tips on improving animal welfare in rural areas. You can call us 662-292-0922 to purchase a copy, or order a copy from Amazon.com or BN.com. You can also find resources cat welfare and how to help neighborhood or community cats on the internet.