A cat resue charity is calling on people in Mayo to spay and neuter cats, even strays on their property, because there is a “cat population crisis” in the county.
Maureen O’Malley has been running Mayo Cat Rescue for 15 years and she made the call ahead of cat breeding season, which begins in February and March.
Last year alone, the charity helped spay and neuter in excess of 500 cats in Mayo but there is still a growing problem in the county.
Ms O’Malley said the bad economy has made the situation even worse as many people don’t have as much disposable income and are reluctant to fork out on veterinary fees to have cats spayed and neutered.
However, ignoring cats, even strays, doesn’t mean the problem goes away.
“If this situation is left, it just gets worse and worse,” warned Ms O’Malley. “Some estates have 20 to 30 cats roaming around. They will continue to breed. And if rescues are full and kittens are dumped, they are just going to breed as well. It is a vicious circle.”
The growing cat population is leading to animal welfare issues, she added. “I’m coming across cats in very poor health.”
She pointed to one case where she was called to a feral cat colony of 12 adult cats and five kittens. She found an animal with his eyes “literally rotting in his head”.
“Eighty per cent of the problem would be wiped out if people just spayed and neutered their cats,” she appealed.
Mayo Cat Rescue no longer takes in cats and kittens but it does operate a very effective trap, neuter and return programme for feral and stray cats.
Ms O’Malley is urging people to get in touch and put a halt to the growing cat population and associated animal welfare problems.
The charity also offers discount vouchers for all cat owners, which can be used at particpating veterinary clinics to have cats spayed and neutered.
For more information, contact Mayo Cat Rescue on (098 ) 35920 or visit the website www.mayocatrescue.org