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More than 1,000 cats spayed to slow Hawaii overpopulation

A roving animal management organization has sterilized more than 1,000 cats in Hawaii this year, a report said.

Animal Balance's Spay Pod surpassed 1,000 surgeries in June to combat cat overpopulation in Kauai, The Garden Island reported Wednesday.

Animal Balance works with global partners to balance feral cat and dog populations, officials said.

Cat overpopulation poses problems for the island's bird populations and potentially carries toxoplasmosis, a parasite that can impact humans and Hawaiian monk seals, the group said.

"We're working toward the goal to reduce the cat population on Kauai in as humane a way as possible," said program director Elsa Kohlbus. "Any impact we make means a positive impact on the environment and the species that share the environment with the cats."

The organization began working in January to form mobile sterilization hospitals with area volunteer groups that average 600 animal sterilizations during each week they are in the region, officials said.

Animal Balance plans to complete 2,000 procedures in one week when they return to Hawaii Sept. 8-12. The free event in Kapaa and Poipu will increase the chances of reaching projected numbers, Kohlbus said.

Animal Balance first worked on Kauai in 2017 with an international team of veterinarian volunteers to form a Mobile Animal Sterilization Hospital clinic. The MASH clinics periodically return and spay hundreds of cats and dogs.

The Spay Pod is a separate effort to reduce Kauai's feral cat population, which Kohlbus said relies on volunteers and is "something we couldn't do without community support."

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