STILLWATER, Okla. - A new effort is underway to reduce the number of stray cats roaming the streets around Stillwater.
Students are playing a critical role in lowering euthanasia rates by curbing the feral cat population.
Kittens are perhaps the cutest creatures on earth.
So it's sad to think if they don't have human contact within a few weeks of their birth, they become feral cats and usually live only five years out on the street.
"Oh yeah, they're everywhere," Chloe Brandon said, a student at Oklahoma State's School of Veterinary Medicine.
Even though she's in the middle of finals, Brandon will be helping control the feral population Sunday morning.
"I will be helping prepare the cats for surgery," she said. "Mostly, I'll be shaving about 100 cats."
Brandon is one of several veterinary students who are part of Operation: Catnip Stillwater.
It's not a program that gives cats their favorite drug.
"What we're doing is a little nipping, spaying and neutering," Dr. Lesa Staubus said.
The OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital will become a spaying and neutering factory Sunday morning.
They expect to operate on about 100 feral cats in just a few hours.
Then they'll be released back to where they were caught, because they're past the point of being someone's pet, however they're still loved by many.
"People who are concerned about these cats," Dr. Staubus said. "A lot of these people might even be feeding these cats but (they're) people who know these cats exist, know they're un-owned and that they're a problem."
Of the 10 surgeons, three will be upper-level students.
The experience for them and local veterinary volunteers is priceless.
"All our veterinarians don't get paid for this," Brandon said. "They're doing this because they love it, and the students, it's just been an amazing experience for everyone involved."
Operation: Catnip Stillwater is still looking for volunteers and we're told anyone who loves animals can help.
They'd like to do this eight times a year.