RESIDENTS in the Illawarra who receive Centrelink payments or hold a health care or concession card are being offered the opportunity have their cats desexed for a reduced rate, thanks to the Illawarra Animal Welfare League.
Those eligible will be able to have their cat, male or female, desexed for $40.
"Desexing animals has been one of the programs we've been running for a long time, and it's a big issue with cats in particular," Illawarra Animal Welfare League co-ordinator Marion Hough said.
"We probably desex somewhere between 900-1000 cats each year, but we still take in somewhere between 700-800 cats each year and 95 per cent of them would be strays."
Eligible pet owners will be provided with a voucher from the Illawarra Animal Welfare League that they can present to their vet, who will then carry out the procedure for $40.
Mrs Hough said the number of stray cats is simply down to pet owners not being responsible.
"People have to have their cats microchipped, but it doesn't seem to be enforced so people don't worry about it. Other people just let their cats have free reign and they wander off and become wild.
"Our desexing program is just as much about trying to encourage owners to be more responsible with their pets as it is about desexing."
Anybody eligible for the discounted desexing program should phone 4272 9427 or 4261 1686 to access it.