HERVEY Bay Animal Refuge volunteer Mel Wilks dreams of seeing the cattery empty one day.

It would mean that people are abiding by the Fraser Coast Council's regulations of all cats being desexed when they are sold, given away and registered for the first time.

While that's almost a pipe dream, Ms Wilks is hoping a new Fraser Coast Council and National Desexing Network Scheme for low income families will help to prevent hundreds of unwanted cats and kittens.

Council has allocated $12,000 to the scheme so eligible Fraser Coast residents will only have to pay $35 to desex their male cats and $55 for female cats, instead of about $200.

"Most of the kittens come in here because they were born here or because the mum's were dumped or people have found them and brought them in to us," Ms Wilks said.

"We think the initiative will make a huge difference.

"Obviously we would like to see an empty cattery but we know that's not going to be possible because there's always people - say for medical reasons - that can't look after them and have to surrender them.

"You just hate seeing cats that have been dumped."

NDN's strategic director Dr Joy Verrinder added that female cats can be safely desexed before four months of age and one kilogram in weight.

"Male cats also need to be desexed to reduce their desire to roam and help prevent serious wounds from fighting or being hit by a car."

Fraser Coast residents can phone the National Desexing Network on 1300 368 992 to find out if they are eligible for the scheme.

Participating veterinary clinics include Hervey Bay Vet Surgery, Scarness Vet Surgery, Walker St Vet Surgery, Howard Vet Clinic and Maryborough Vet Surgery.

Animal Welfare League Qld's National Desexing Network developed the program and is managing it free of charge on Council's behalf.



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