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story.lead_photo.caption Cats for are seen for adoption at the Sam and Daisey Grabb Animal Shelter in August. Photo by Quinn Wilson / Fulton Sun.

The Callaway County Humane Society will begin its annual "Beat the Heat" spay and neuter program for cats earlier than usual in 2020.

In the program's seventh year, the Humane Society will open the program for participants to make appointments with Fulton veterinarians in December. According to Humane Society Vice President Sandy Corbet, this move is to get ahead of when cats typically go into heat in the springtime.

"Cats go into heat in early spring so we try to get them neutered or spayed before that," Corbet said. "In the past, we scheduled procedures for February, but we'd sometimes run into issues with cats going into heat by then. This is where the Beat the Heat name comes from."

Each Fulton veterinarian will be accepting 20-25 spots for animals to be spayed or neutered in January. The Humane Society will use vouchers to pay for a majority of the procedure leaving the cost at $20 per animal.

Corbet said that while the program was originally designed to help people with stray and feral cats, any cats will be accepted. She said spots at the local veterinarian offices typically fill up quickly.

"It's always very successful. We have a limited amount of money that we can spend, but there's a really big need in the county," she said.

Corbet said the program works on a first come, first serve basis and has worked without much change over the years. However, she said the Humane Society is looking to have Beat the Heat expanded into a year-long program.

"We haven't heard from the county if they are going to increase funding, but we do appreciate any help we can get from them," Corbet said.

According to Corbet, the Humane Society will be focusing on its other spay and neuter programs in 2020 both for cats and dogs. She said the society is in the process of reconfiguring its board of directors.

Additionally, the Humane Society has started a new Facebook page, "Callaway Cat Page." The purpose of the page is find cats foster homes as the Humane Society does not have the capacity to house them.

"We give people who adopt a cat from the Callaway Cats Page a $25 voucher to have their cats fixed or neutered if they aren't already," Corbet said.

The Humane Society will also be hosting a microchip clinic Saturday in Holts Summit at 190 Simon Blvd. from 10 a.m.- noon. The cost will be $25 for the first pet and $20 for each pet after. They will also be hosting their "Santa Paws" event Dec. 14 where pets can have their pictures taken with Santa at the John C. Harris Community Center from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

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