No dogs on Aitutaki – and now fewer cats

Monday September 30, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Tomie Timon with a kitten they have desexed. 19092332 Tomie Timon with a kitten they have desexed. 19092332

Working for free, veterinarians from the United States have desexed more than 234 cats in a bid to counter Aitutaki’s growing cat population.


US organiser Tomie Timon recruits veterinary teams from far and wide in the US. She organises donations, fundraising, supply orders, information for customs, and with the support of Te Are Manu vet clinic, orders the controlled drugs for the team from Australia.

More recently, they have met their goal of fundraising $2500. The funds raised go directly into ordering the supplies, which in November this year, will get to stay on the island permanently.

Tomie’s goal is to have enough supplies already on Aitutaki so that each time a team arrives, there will be fewer and fewer supplies to order.

The Aitutaki Community Cat Programme is scheduled to arrive in November for a third visit. There will be a surgical team of a veterinarian, veterinary nurse, and two assistants who will stay for one week and desex as many cats as possible. They will also trap wild cats for desexing.

Ewan Smith from Air Rarotonga has donated inter-island flights for the teams.

In Aitutaki, Stephanie Joseph organises flyers and community visits. She’s also on call to go all over the island to pick up or deliver the cats as well. 

“It's amazing how the program has grown. We get lots of community involvement and support, from the business community and also from individuals and families,” Joseph says.

Te Are Manu Veterinary Clinic on Rarotonga also plays a role in the success of the programme.  With their support and assistance, the teams are able to get their supplies approved through customs and have even sent cats from Aitutaki to Rarotonga for treatment.




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