Spaying And Neutering Cats...

“Neuteress of the Night Prowls Texas Town”

Kat Chaplin tackles pet overpopulation with humor

by Arden Moore

At stoplights in downtown Roanoke, Texas, Kathleen "Kat" Chaplin expects stares, finger pointing, even giggles from other motorists.

Her driving style doesn't generate all the attention; the multitude of messages splashed on her 1996 blue Nissan Altima does. Chaplin will tell you that Nissan stands for "Nifty Individuals Start Spaying and Neutering."

"I'm a creative person working in a technical world, so this spaying and neutering effort is good for me," says Chaplin, 56, who works the night shift at a computer help desk.

Chaplin reigns as president of "Neuter Us, Humor Us," a nonprofit campaign for Ahimsa of Texas, a group consisting of four Texan friends who describe themselves as "a small but mighty force working on behalf of animals."

She conducts spay/neuter and education programs throughout Texas and over the Internet on her Web site: www.ahimsatx.org. Flossy the Floozy, Spay West and Sammie Spayed characters appear on spay/neuter stamps Chaplin puts on newsletters, bumper stickers and coffee mugs. She works with local veterinarians and shelters to provide free or low-cost spay and neutering programs. She awards Kitten Kops (Kids on Patrol) certificates to children who encourage their parents or their friends to spay or neuter their pets.

Chaplin crusades to curb the overpopulation of cats and dogs. You can tell with one glance at her car. Her personalized license plate reads, "No Kill." The back bumper sports whimsical cartoon drawings of a neutered cat and a dog, both with belly bandages, and the words: "Save Lives! Spay and Neuter. It's the kindest cut of all." Across the top of her windshield appears the message: "We Be Neutered." Her driver's-side door depicts a frustrated mother cat with kittens piled on top of her and the words: "Spay and Neuter." A 5-foot plush Sylvester the Cat rides in the front passenger seat.

Chaplin doesn't believe in subtlety. "I encourage people to promote neutering pets with humor to help end the irresponsibility of pet overpopulation," she says. "Every 60 seconds, we kill another 350 healthy, homeless animals in America."

Michael Mountain, president of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, a no-kill center, has no trouble recalling the first time he met Chaplin. She greeted him in her "We Be Neutered" van last spring, whimsically wielding a machete.

"The Neuteress is truly one of the outstanding personalities of the humane community," Mountain says. "Jokes, gimmicks and slogans aside, her cause is deadly serious. She certainly gets the work out and the job done."

Arlene Robbins, of Garland, Texas, met Chaplin at a national feral-cat conference in St. Louis, Mo., a couple of years ago and immediately developed a friendship and admiration.

"She is waging war on pet overpopulation, and she is charming and a riot to talk to," Robbins says.

Chaplin's efforts have garnered the respect of national groups such as Alley Cat Allies, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C.
"The issue of overpopulation is sad and overwhelming, but Kat channels her love and energy toward how the problem can be solved by marketing spay and neuter in every form possible," says Becky Robinson, national director of Alley Cat Allies. "Kat proves that individuals can make a difference every day. Because of people like Kat, we will win in the end; the animals will win in the end."

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