The Shuswap SPCA’s initiative to offer free spaying and neutering services for cats was a huge success, with all available procedures completed in half the expected time.
In less than six months, all 350 subsidized spay/neuter surgeries made available to residents of Salmon Arm through a generous $62,000 grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada have been completed.
“The first month we scheduled more than 120 surgeries and the project kept its momentum from then on,” says Victoria Olynik, manager at the BC SPCA Shuswap Branch. “The support and eagerness shown by the community for this project clearly demonstrates the need Salmon Arm had to address the cat overpopulation situation.”
The grant, which spayed and neutered a total of 375 cats in the last six months, is already making an impact in the community.
“Kitten intake has been significantly lower this year to date compared to previous years and we have been able to assist surrounding areas by taking in cats, whereas previously we had struggled to help our own community due to the sheer volume of cats and kittens that were in need of our care and support,” Olynik says.
The branch has heard many stories of how the program has provided relief and a lifeline for cat owners. It has helped to prevent unwanted litters, solve behaviour issues and ensure that families could stay together.
“We heard from a family who had an indoor cat and was being driven crazy with her behaviour every time the cat went into heat. They weren’t able to afford the surgery and they let us know this program was a lifesaver for them,” explains Olynik. “Thanks to the surgery the behaviour issues went away and they were able to keep the cat in the family.”
However, the SPCA’s efforts to control unwanted kittens and limit the struggles of finding homes for these cats is still far from over.
“Although the branch is starting to see the impact from the program, there are still many cats in need in our community. We continue to urge all residents to not only have their own cats spayed and neutered, but to also take action to ensure that all stray and feral cats in their community are fixed as well.”
The PetSmart Charities organization stands firmly behind the program which helps pet owners gain access to these surgeries.
“At PetSmart Charities of Canada, we’re strong believers of the benefits of spay/neuter programs like the ones underway in several communities and shelters through the oversight of the BC SPCA,” says Dani Mailing, regional relationship manager. “Grants like this are helping to prevent pet homelessness before it starts while also helping pet parents who want to do the right thing for their cat, but may need a little financial support to do so.”
Thanks to the contributions from program participants, the branch can help a limited amount of low income families get the help they need to spay or neuter their cat. For more information, contact the Shuswap SPCA at 250-832-7376.