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  Cat welfare

For years, the RSPCA has been working to improve cat welfare in Victoria by proactively operating a variety of campaigns to increase adoptions and the reuniting of cats with their owners. When it comes to working with Victorian councils, we take an integrated approach including supporting council efforts by promoting the benefits of desexing and microchipping; advice on implementing councils’ animal management plan and educating the community about responsible pet ownership.

We have experienced significant improvement in finding thousands of our feline friends’ happy and loving homes, as well as a noticeable reduction in Victoria’s cat population, as a result of our extensive efforts to promote compulsory desexing and microchipping. We recognise that even today, cats are undervalued in the community. Therefore at the core of our efforts is the recognition that cats offer us numerous benefits including companionship and affection.

  Desexing & microchipping

Stray cats
  Cat ownership
  Other initiatives
 

Cat desexing

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 financial cost to our State and Local Governments for managing cat overpopulation is high. Although cats can be desexed at any age, we recommend desexing kittens as young as 12 weeks old as 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.

To tackle the overpopulation crisis we subsidise the cost of cat desexing. To find out about our discounts on the price of cat desexing including offers for concession card holders please visit our cat desexing program event page or contact our Customer Service team on customerservice@rspcavic.org.au.

Compulsory cat desexing

We work to find loving homes for thousands of healthy each year, however due to the immense cat population it can be challenging. To reduce this issue, we advocate 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
  • Bayside
  • Casey
  • Cardinia
  • Frankston
  • Greater Geelong
  • Greater Shepparton
  • Kingston
  • Knox 
  • LaTrobe
  • Monash 
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Nillumbik
  • Pyrenees
  • Queenscliff
  • South Gippsland 
  • Stonnington
  • Whitehorse
  • Yarra City
  • Yarra Ranges

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

Cat microchipping

Often the RSPCA receives cats 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. It’s also very cost effective!

For more information, visit our pet microchipping page.

Our initiatives to enforce desexing and microchipping in Victoria include:

Discounted cat desexing program – metropolitan areas

We offered a discount to cat owners who hold health care or pension cards to have their cat desexed and/or microchipped at the discount rate of $40. This program was facilitated at the Burwood and Peninsula shelters only as RSPCA clinics are on site.

It was noted that owners travelled many kilometres to take advantage of this reduced rate as they had not previously been able to afford cat desexing.

Free cat microchipping and desexing program – regional areas

We offered a discount to cat owners who hold health care or pension cards to have their cat desexed and/or microchipped in selected regional areas. The local municipalities that RSPCA Victoria support is based on socio-economic demographics, and areas that have identified cat welfare issues.

Since 2011, the targeted areas have been Ballarat, Warrnambool, Sale, Wangaratta, Portland and Mildura. The campaign was a great success and resulted in more than 6,100 cats desexed and/or microchipped.

Year
Cats desexed
Cats microchipped
2011
1,037
649
2012
692 676
2013
750 735
2014  1,122 525

Feedback from local vets and council rangers is that fewer cats are noticed on streets and fewer kittens coming in to vet services needing to find a home. We are regularly contacted by Councils to see if this initiative can be expanded and/or repeated.

Free cat microchipping and desexing program – Banyule City Council

At the end of October 2013, we offered free cat microchipping and desexing services at Banyule City Council, specifically to financially disadvantaged Department of Human Services’ clients. The Banyule City Council funded this program, with MAC deployed to the area to undertake the procedures.

Approximately 40 cats were desexed in the three days utilising the RSPCA Victoria Mobile Animal Care Unit (MAC). Further 20 cats were desexed at RSPCA Burwood East Clinic after litters were born. The initiative was received well by the residents, Department of Human Services and the Banyule Council, that a similar initiative to be proposed in 2014.

Reclaim discount on entire pets

RSPCA offers vouchers to owners reclaiming their entire pets, including cats, entitling them to a 53% discount to desex all their animals at RSPCA Clinics. The voucher given is valid for 30-60 days after the reclaim date and this is also provided to an owner surrendering unwanted litters of kittens.

Take action
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.

Keep your eyes out for our next desexing and microchipping program.

RSPCA Victoria's campaigns are completely reliant on public donations. Any support, great or small is greatly valued to keep this important work going.

$


Donate



A large portion of the 500,000 unowned cats across Victoria are stray 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.

Who’s for cats?

Initiated by the State Government, the RSPCA promoted this program through councils and animal welfare agencies by offering veterinary services to residents who will take full ownership of a stray/semi-owned cat.

> View Who's for Cats webpage
Take action
If you find a stray cat please take it to your 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.


RSPCA Victoria's campaigns are completely reliant on public donations. Any support, great or small is greatly valued to keep this important work going.

$


Donate


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.

> View our cats currently available for adoption

Our current adoption awareness campaigns include:

No Fee for Felines

We launched our ongoing cat fee waiver promotions known as No Fee for Felines (used to be known as I Cats) which involved a mass awareness campaign consisting of display advertising, posters and social media.

The campaign was a great success and lead to a significant increase in adoption enquires and more than 3,000 adult cats being adopted into loving homes through our cat fee waiver promotions.

Happy Endings

Finding loving homes for the cats in our care remains an ongoing goal at RSPCA Victoria. Our ‘Happy Endings’ adoption campaign continued to influence attitudes related to adoptions from shelters.

In 2013 a mass awareness campaign consisting of targeted social media, public relations and advertising in both local and metropolitan print advertisements was launched. Happy Endings billboards were placed throughout Victoria reinforcing the value and love adopting a cat brings to a family.

The campaign resulted in a significant rise in cat adoption enquires and supported adoptions with 3183 cats finding their forever home in 2013.

> View our happy endings

Double The Love

In February 2012, we launched ‘Double the Love’ where kittens adopted in pairs were available at a reduced fee, in time for Valentine’s Day. This initiative encouraged families to adopt two kittens, producing a better welfare outcome when they have a playmate.

The campaign played a significant role in supporting our adoptions during 2013 with 810 kittens finding their forever home. We continue to provide reduced adoption fees when kittens adopted in pairs.

> Visit our Double The Love page

Young At Heart

Senior pets have many advantages making them the perfect family pet. Seniors have developed their own character, are house trained, need less exercise, less excitable and are often a good match for homes with existing pets.

Unfortunately senior pets are often overlooked by people wanting a new pet, when in fact these animals have many attributes that make
them the perfect furry friend. In 2011, we launched our ‘Young at Heart’ campaign, where we waived adoption fees for our senior animals going to a loving and committed home.

Our vet clinics also support the initiative by offering 25% discount on consultation fees at the RSPCA's Burwood East and Peninsula vet clinics for the entire life of the senior pet adopted from RSPCA Victoria.

> Visit our Young At Heart page
 

Take action
Find your pawfect match at the RSPCA

RSPCA Victoria's campaigns are completely reliant on public donations. Any support, great or small is greatly valued to keep this important work going.

$


Donate


Animal welfare assistance - Lake Tyres

In mid-November 2013, RSPCA dispatched a team comprising vets, vet nurses, animal attendants and inspectors to assist the Lake Tyres community with pet desexing, husbandry and general animal welfare.

A part of the Lake Tyres Aboriginal Trust Animal Health program; the bulk of the work was on dogs, however a number of cats were either desexed, microchipped or surrendered.

Welfare discounts

We are able to offer owners in financial hardship who are unable to meet the essential veterinary care required for their cat assistance by either waiving the fee or negotiating a reduced fee for the overall cost of care.

Negotiated arrangements are put in place with owners who have multiple cats or negotiations are conducted with case workers, councils, family support programs.
 






 
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