Did you know just one undesexed female cat and her offspring can have 5,000 kittens in just seven years?

Cats can breed their first litter as early as four months of age and produce three or more litters per year! No wonder there's an estimated 500,000 unowned and semi-owned (stray) cats in Victoria.

There is a misconception that cats are self-sufficient and can look after themselves. This just isn't true. 

Stray cats are likely to suffer terrible health problems like cat flu, flea and worm infestations, skin cancers and other diseases. They are also at higher risk of famine, fighting and road trauma injuries. 

By contrast, owned cats are happier, healthier and live longer. A pet cat kept safe at home can live up to four times longer than a cat left to roam.

RSPCA Victoria wants to work with communities to “Think CATS!”

We are piloting our Think CATS program with Glenelg Shire Council, to improve cat welfare and reduce stray cat numbers. This involves offering low-cost desexing programs and engaging with the community on responsible cat ownership to make sure all cats are owned, safe and happy.

Contain cats at home
Adopt responsibly
Treat cats well
Stop unwanted litters

Contain cats at home

Cats that are left to roam are at greater risk of injury or death from fighting or road trauma accidents, and potentially fatal feline diseases. They also pose a huge risk to native wildlife, putting protected species at risk of extinction.

What can you do:
 Give your feline friend the best chance at a long and happy life by keeping them safely contained at home, especially during cat curfew hours. Join the Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife community today for tips and expert advice.

Adopt responsibly

Many cats/kittens are sold cheaply or given away for free by backyard breeders or people advertising their unwanted pets on Facebook; often before they have been desexed. This only fuels the stray cat overpopulation problem. 

It's important to know what you're getting. When you adopt a cat from a reputable source, like an RSPCA Victoria Animal Care Centre, you can be sure your new feline friend is desexed, registered, microchipped and vet checked.

You are also giving a rescued (stray) cat a loving forever home.

What can you do:
 Adopt from an RSPCA Victoria Animal Care Centre or other reputable rescue group and follow the RSPCA smart kitten and cat buyers guide.
 If you want to help stray cats, don't feed them. You are only making them strong enough to breed more unwanted litters. Instead, take responsible ownership of that cat, including having it desexed, registered and microchipped. 
 If you can't take ownership, take the stray cat to your local RSPCA Victoria Animal Care Centre or other rescue group for adoption.

Treat cats well

Cats make great pets. Yet cats are far less likely than dogs to be desexed, registered, microchipped, reclaimed if lost, and taken to the vet for a health check – despite having similar needs. 

There’s also a general lack of awareness about what cats need to be happy and healthy. When cat behaviour is misunderstood or misinterpreted, it can lead to poor welfare.

What can you do:
 Understand more about responsible cat ownership and why it’s important to desex, register, and microchip your feline friend.
 Learn more about cat welfare and what your cat needs for a happy and healthy life. Start with understanding your cat's behaviour by ordering our free Cat Behaviour Guide or enrolling in one of our cat behaviour short courses.
 Help cats living on the streets; take ownership, or take the cat to an RSPCA Victoria Animal Care Centre for adoption.

Stop unwanted litters

Cats are prolific breeders. Just one female undesexed cat and her offspring can have 5,000 kittens in just 7 years! Cats can breed their first litter as early as 4 months of age and can produce three or more litters per year.

RSPCA Victoria receives over 10,000 unwanted cats and kittens every year, putting a huge strain on our resources. Desexing your cat is an important way of helping reduce these numbers.

There are also many health benefits of desexing. Research shows that desexed cats are generally calmer and live longer because they are better protected from certain disease and illness.

What can you do:
 Get your cat desexed (kittens before 4 months of age).

RSPCA Victoria is currently working with
 Glenelg Shire Council to provide low cost desexing programs but will be looking at opportunities to also work in other council areas.

What to help improve cat welfare in your community? 
Download our Think CATS Poster and Think CATS Flyer and help spread the word! For more information about Think CATS, email campaigns@rspcavic.org.au