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Cats are loving pets that provide companionship and affection to many people across Victoria. Tragically however, there are approximately 500,000 unowned cats across our state, presenting the community with a a serious over-population issue.

One of the reasons so many cats are bred in Victoria is due to the breeding cycle of these animals.
Cats start breeding as young as five months of age. If left undesexed, just one female cat and her offspring can produce up to 420,000 cats in seven years.

The RSPCA recommends kittens are desexed as young as 12 weeks old. The operation is straight-forward with minimal discomfort to the kitten. Whilst cats can be desexed at any age, desexing at a younger age ensures a faster recovery.

Aside from preventing accidental litters, there are many health and behavioural benefits to desexing. Desexed cats live longer and healthier lives, are more affectionate and are less inclined to wander, run away or get into fights. Desexed females do not experience heat cycles and males do not spray to mark their territory.

The RSPCA believes one of the most effective strategies to tackle the overpopulation crisis is to subsidise the cost of cat desexing, making it  accessible for everyone in the community. The RSPCA regularly provides large discounts on the price of cat desexing and for concession card holders, this procedure is sometimes at no cost. Anyone wanting to know where these promotions are currently being staged are welcome to contact our Customer Service team for more information.

The financial cost to our State and Local Governments for managing cat overpopulation is estimated at a staggering $5 million per annum. Tragically the biggest cost is however the poor welfare outcomes for these companion animals.

Compulsory cat desexing

Animal shelters across Victoria strive to find new homes for thousands of healthy each year, however due to the immense cat population there are sometimes more cats than there are available homes. To help address this issue, the RSPCA advocates for compulsory cat desexing.

Compulsory cat desexing introduced by local councils as part of their Domestic Management Plans is an important avenue to improve welfare outcomes for cats in Victoria. We applaud the work of local councils where cat desexing is compulsory including:

  • Brimbank
  • Casey
  • Cardinia
  • La Trobe
  • Frankston
  • Greater Shepparton
  • Kingston
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Nillumbik
  • Pyrenees
  • Queenscliff
  • Strathbogie
  • Wangaratta
  • Wodonga

Councils that are considering introducing compulsory desexing include Banyule, Benalla, East Gippsland, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Knox, Mitchell, Monash, Moorabool, Port Phillip, Wellington and Whitehorse.


Community cats

A large portion of the 500,000 unowned cats across Victoria are community cats where one specific person doesn't take responsibility.
A survey by Monash University found that 22% of Victorians fed a cat that didn’t belong to them. Many people have very kind intentions and feed their local community cat but sadly, these people are in fact feeding a bigger problem.

Unowned cats often suffer from poor health and live in equally poor conditions. The average life expectancy of an unowned cat is three years, compared to 12-15 years for an owned desexed cat.

The RSPCA strongly encourages anyone feeding a neighbourhood cat to take it to their nearest vet or shelter so it can be checked for a microchip. If it doesn't belong to anyone, it may be desexed, microchipped and rehomed with a forever family that will take good care of it for the rest of its life.

The RSPCA actively participates in the Who's for Cats campaign and regularly promotes special prices for desexing, microchipping and desexing to people wanting to take ownership of their local neighbourhood cat.



Sadly, only 7.8% of cats are reclaimed from RSPCA shelters across Victoria. Lost animals often arrive at the RSPCA without collars or tags and only a fraction are microchipped or have up-to-date details. Reuniting these cats with families is impossible unless owners actively contact us searching for their pet.

Microchipping cats gives owners the best chance of being reunited with their pet in the event it becomes lost or stolen. A microchip, which is the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin, at the base of the neck using a needle. Each microchip contains a unique number so when scanned, that number can be used to search a database containing owner details. These owner details can be updated simply by contacting the microchip database company.

Microchipping dogs and cats is compulsory, as legislated in 2007. Sadly though, there are still a large number of cats without microchips. To help address this issue, RSPCA vet clinics microchip cats for only $35 and we regularly stage free or heavily discounted microchipping campaigns for health care card holders. Anyone wanting to know if there are any current promotions are welcome to contact our Customer Service team for more information.

To help achieve better welfare outcomes for cats, increasing the number of cats microchipped in the community is critical.

> Learn more about pet microchipping


Behaviour issues

Sadly every year, a large number of cats are surrendered to RSPCA shelters with behavioural issues sighted as the reason. Addressing behavioural issues is not always as difficult as it seems and the RSPCA Animal Behaviour team are here to help.

Sometimes just learning about cat behaviour can help owners better understand their feline friends and help work through any issues. Similar to all animals, cats have a unique way of expressing their behaviour and we are here to help you speak their language!

We have lots of information on cat health and behaviour available on our website so you can learn more at your convenience. Alternatively, explore the training opportunities provided by our expert Animal Behaviour team


Cat adoption

The love and companionship experienced through cat ownership is priceless.
Each year, the RSPCA finds second chances to more than 1,896 cats and kittens across Victoria. We do everything we can to give as many cats entering our shelters the second chance they deserve, especially adult and senior cats.

> Search our cats looking for their pawfect match

Adult cats - age does matter!

Adult cats are often overlooked when people consider a new pet although our adoption team consider these animals our little hidden treasures.

Adult cats are low maintenance, fuss free pets. An older cat is more independent, is great as an indoor pet for those who don’t have large outdoor areas and it won’t require the same amount of upkeep as that of a dog or a kitten. An adult cat will generally settle into a new home much quicker and is less likely to scratch or bite, making an adult a great match for homes with children. Best of all, because an adult cat has already formed its personality, you will know exactly the cat you're adopting.

> Search our senior cats looking for second chances

> Learn more about our Young at Heart senior's program

Take action

There are many ways you can help improve the welfare of cats in Victoria.

  • Contact your local council and confirm if compulsory cat desexing has been introduced. If not, put it on their agenda. If they have, congratulate them for taking action.
  • Do you know a cat that isn't microchipped or desexed?  Spread the word about the importance and the cat welfare issues in Victoria - send a link to this page.
  • Update your pet cat's microchip details.
  • Take your local community cat to your nearest shelter or vet.
  • Adopt a cat and give one of these loving animals a second chance at happiness!

Take action
Contact your local council
Find your local council and confirm its position on compulsory cat desexing.

Desex or microchip your cat

Contact your local vet or an RSPCA vet clinic today.

Update microchip details
Check your pet's details.

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