Desexing and health check initiative

Free health checks and desexing operations be available to the feline residents of Melville, from June 20th 2011.

The initiative, aimed at clearing up the “silent epidemic” of sick cats and kittens overpopulating the suburb, came to fruition after a meeting of Carevets, Waikato SPCA and Melville Community House.
A $20,000 donation to the Waikato SPCA has enabled Keith Houston of the Carevet Veterinary clinics to provide a service to treat 300 cats of community card holders – making a huge difference to the community.

The desexing and health check initiative will be run by a booking system at the community house, where the van will be ready and waiting.
Te Whare Kokonga/Melvillle Community House co-ordinator Holly Snape confirmed the area has had a large number of strays.

“It is a unique initiative, to cater for the stray and unwell cats in the community. We want to up the treatment of flea problems, up the vaccinations, target cats that are breeding by having the cheap desexing facilities,” she said.

All community card holders are encouraged to bring their cats in.
According to Waikato RNZSPCA Branch Manager Tracy Wilde it is the cost for treatment and a slow realisation of how quickly a cat can get pregnant that is to blame for explosions of kittens.

“We get endless calls about cats, this is a guesstimate, but a good 80% of calls here are about cats,” she says. “It is amazing how upset people can get about stray cats.”

Doctor Keith Houston of Carevets funded the mobile de-sexing service off his own bat.
“This is our [Carevets] contribution to the greater welfare of the community, by helping the SPCA meet their aims,” said Dr Houston. It is not just the breeding that is causing the SPCA site to be inundated with cats, but the diseases that come from overpopulation and poor conditions as well.
With the larger numbers, both domestic and feral felines can become sick by contracting cat flu, parasites, worms or feline aids (mainly from males fighting).

According to Wilde there are a “horrendous amount” of cats and kittens that are sick and dying and the SPCA does not have enough resources and staff time to control it.
The “kitten season” brings an overload of pregnant and abandoned animals during the Christmas period when people cannot care for them.

“Colonies of abandoned and unwanted animals are living in communities and without de-sexing are increasing at an alarming rate. (One male and female cat can produce 400,000 offspring in seven years).”
As a result the cats turn into scared, starved and eventually sick animals.

The SPCA wants to address other problem areas such as Fairfield, Nawton, Ngarawahia and Huntly and is looking for more funding for continued treatment and expansion to the other areas in need.

Around 16-18 cats are hoped to be treated per day.