Free spay and neuter services available to combat Nevada County’s ‘cat crisis’ |

Free spay and neuter services available to combat Nevada County’s ‘cat crisis’

Two cats, hanging on the front counter of Samme's Friends, sense dinner is about to be served.

Nevada County’s feral cat population is out of control, and Sammie’s Friends is preparing to combat the problem, said Joanne Castles, a volunteer and board member for the organization.

Sammie’s Friends, a nonprofit, runs the Nevada County Animal Shelter. Castles said the shelter was home to over 250 cats last month — 150 more than it can comfortably handle. About 900 cats per year are brought to the facility.

Castles said the cat population is “hectic and overwhelming,” and something must be done.

Castles and her husband Dan have partnered with Cheryl Wicks, also with Sammie’s Friends, to help curb the ever-growing issue. Together, they have pledged to match any donations to a fund that will pay for spaying and neutering Nevada County cats.

Beginning this week, low- income residents can call any local veterinarian and make an appointment for a cat to be spayed or neutered. Castles said residents should ask, when scheduling appointments, for the service to be paid for by the “2017 Nevada County Cat Crisis” fund. The appointments will be completely free for residents, and vets will be reimbursed by Sammie’s Friends, Castles said.

So far, community members have donated $10,000 to the fund. Castles said she hopes to raise a total of $50,000 for the program, and that number will be matched.

The ultimate goal, Castles said, is to spay and neuter every cat in the county.

The program will operate until funds run out, she said.

Tax-deductible donations can be made through the Sammie’s Friends website at Contributors can also drop off checks at the Nevada County Animal Shelter, 14647 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley, or at Sammie’s Friends Nifty Thrift Shop, 627 E Main St., Grass Valley. A “GoFundMe” pagecalled “The 2017 Nevada County Cat Crisis” is also available for donations.

For questions or concerns, contact Castles at

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