Spay or neuter your cats

Barb Ashmead of Qualicum Cat Rescue wants residents to know this is a good time to spay or neuter their cats. -
Barb Ashmead of Qualicum Cat Rescue wants residents to know this is a good time to spay or neuter their cats.
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Spring is still a few months away, but don’t tell that to a cat. They’re already ready and raring to go, sparking an appeal by both the SPCA and Qualicum Cat Rescue for people to spay or neuter their feline friends.

SPCA shelter manager Nadine Durante said although the shelter sees kittens being born all year, this is the time of year when cat owners should make preventing them a priority.

“This is definitely a good time to think about it,” Durante said, noting the shelter’s low cost spay and neuter program altered 107 animals last year.

Jennifer Coleman, of Qualicum Cat Rescue, agreed.

“Shelters are full to capacity with surrendered and unclaimed stray adult cats,” Coleman said. “It is kinder to consider their welfare than it is to give kittens away for free, with no guarantee that the adopters will neuter them before they start to breed, and add to the problem of too many cats and not enough good homes.”

Coleman said any cat that is four months of age or older should be spayed or neutered before they get a chance to breed — and this is coming up to the most prolific feline breeding season of the year.

“Cats are very prolific breeders,” she said. “Sure kittens are cute and adoptable, but when hundreds of cats turn up at shelters and rescues, no longer wanted, or are abandoned or lost, it becomes apparent that some people did not care enough about the welfare of the cat they adopted. Don’t let that be you.”

To help reduce the overabundance of cats in the area, Qualicum Cat Rescue has 50 spay, neuter and vaccination certificates available to Oceanside residents who have a low income.

“The cost is by donation, whatever the applicant can afford,” Coleman said.

The certificates will be available Feb. 1 at 166 West First Avenue in Qualicum Beach.

Durante noted the SPCA also has a low cost spay and neuter program that is available for people living on a low income. This program is available to residents who have a pre-existing pet they want to alter and is offered once only to each applicant.

“Our low cost spay and neuter program is for someone who is in a financial situation and already has a pet,” Durante said. “This is not to get a pet and then rely on the SPCA. This is for people who already have pets.”

For more information, call the SPCA at 250-248-3811 or Qualicum Cat Rescue at 250-752-2797.

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