SINGAPORE - The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) will be rolling out a national programme to reduce the stray cat population through sterilisation.
From June 1, caregivers of stray cats in Housing Board estates can register with the SPCA clinic or participating clinics to book an appointment to have the cat sterilised and microchipped for free, the animal welfare group announced on Tuesday.
The cost of the sterilisation and microchipping will be shared by SPCA and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).
This programme comes on the heels of a similar programme rolled out in May 2014 by another animal welfare group, the Cat Welfare Society and the AVA.
It can cost about $50 - $100 to sterilise a male cat, or around $80 - $150 for a female.
Under the initiative, stray cats living outside HDB neighbourhoods, such as in industrial or private housing estates, can also be sterilised at a nominal fee of $25.
The SPCA also said that it is training volunteers to work with cat feeders to encourage them to send their animal charges for sterilisation. The feeders will also be taught how to feed the animals responsibly, for instance by clearing up leftover food.
The stray cat sterilisation programme will replace SPCA's existing sterilisation voucher scheme which first came into effect in 1991. Under the old scheme, vouchers to sterilise the cats were distributed to the the public and other animal welfare groups.
More than 33,000 such vouchers were distributed over the past 24 years, costing SPCA $1.2 million.
"The new programme offers the SPCA the opportunity to work closely with community cat feeders in their trap-neuter-release efforts," said SPCA executive director Corinne Fong.
"With the authorities and animal welfare groups collaborating, the goal is to streamline our sterilisation efforts to better serve the community."
The SPCA said it will also continue to assist community dog feeders with controlling and managing stray dog numbers. Individual feeders and rescuers can arrange to sterilise and microchip the dogs at the SPCA clinic at a subsidised rate of $25 each.
For more information on the stray cat sterilisation programme, go to http://www.spca.org.sg/services_sterilisation.asp.