Pet-owners urged to get animals de-sexed

Wauchope vet Michael Ferguson performs a desexing operation on a cat that has already had several litters of kittens.
Wauchope vet Michael Ferguson performs a desexing operation on a cat that has already had several litters of kittens.

A Wauchope vet is calling on animal-lovers to be responsible pet-owners by having their cats and dogs de-sexed.  

Michael Ferguson from Wauchope Vets says Australia has a staggering 70 million feral cats which cause huge damage to our country’s wildlife.

He says now is the time to get cats de-sexed and that after the winter solstice, cats start going into season and can have up to four litters of kittens a year.  Kittens born now will start having litters of their own by August next year.

“It’s seasonal.  As soon as daylight saving starts, cats will start cycling and then eight weeks later, they have kittens.  A mature, healthy cat could easily have eight kittens in a litter, and before those kittens are weaned, she could be pregnant again.

Get your cat or dog desexed before they come to that reproductive age which can be four to six months old. There are a lot of health benefits, and it costs people a lot less in the long run.

Wauchope vet Michael Ferguson

“What we need to do is desex healthy big cats and stop the process going on.  Get your cat or dog desexed before they come to that reproductive age which can be four to six months old.  There are a lot of health benefits, and it costs people a lot less in the long run,” he said.

To give pet-owners an incentive, Wauchope Vets offer a discount to do it when their dog or cat is young.

“We get people ringing up looking for free cats.  We don’t give them away because it doesn’t solve the issue.”

Michael says if you want a cat or dog, do the right thing and go to a rescue group and buy one which will be desexed, vaccinated, microchipped and wormed.  He says 95% of people who buy a rescue a dog or cat look after the pet properly.

Wauchope Vets get a lot of puppies which are pregnant at six months, and they have also had to desex a 14-year-old dog with breast cancer.

“We need to break this cycle of perennial cat litters.  It’s a never-ending issue which comes back down to responsible pet ownership.  We desex cats at a loss,” said the vet.

If you’re feeding a stray cat regularly, the best thing to do is trap it and ring the council, rather than feed it until it’s healthy and gets pregnant.  Michael says cats and dogs, including those working on farms, need to be microchipped so that their owners can be traced if they get lost.

Veterinary nurse Tash Rankin is the Volunteer Coordinator of Wally’s Doggie Rescue for the Port Macquarie area. She facilitates the rescue, retraining and rehoming of dogs and puppies and relies a lot on foster carers who look after the animals until they get a home.

Wally's Dog Rescue fosters dogs from the pound until they can be rehomed.

Wally's Dog Rescue fosters dogs from the pound until they can be rehomed.

“We have rehomed 400 dogs and puppies from the pound.  We get them vaccinated, microchipped, desexed, wormed and give them flea and tick treatment.  We take a lot of pregnant mums from the pound because nobody wants them.  If anyone wants a rescue pup or dog, ring Wauchope Vets on 65851626,” she said.

Tash encourages people to buy rescue pets, rather than going on Facebook or Gumtree to find one.  She says there’s a lot of irresponsible breeding going on out there, relying on the cute faces of pups.