Wanganui SPCA is officially under new management.

The Whanganui branch has merged with Palmerston North to become the Manawatu SPCA, general manager Danny Auger said.

The merger means Wanganui SPCA can stay on its feet after coming within "weeks" of closing down, but the public will need to help if the branch is to remain open.

"Without something drastic happening, there's absolutely no doubt that Wanganui SPCA would have closed," Mr Auger said.

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"Palmerston North SPCA will have to inject some money into Wanganui SPCA to keep it up and running ... while we get in and start fundraising. We really now need to get the community back on board ... we aren't going to be able to prop it up forever."

The merger officially happened over October and November, and changes are already being put in place.

Mr Auger said there were some new staff at the Whanganui branch, and they would be adopting a "stray cat collar" policy that has been used in Palmerston North for about three years.

The stray cat collar is used when a cat is brought in that has been hanging around someone's property for a while. If the cat is healthy, happy and friendly, SPCA staff put a collar on it with a message saying: "If this is your cat, please contact the SPCA."

Mr Auger said their experience with the method in Palmerston North showed 80 per cent of cats they collared were never brought back to the centre and "generally belong to the house across the road".

The method meant the SPCA saved money on housing, cleaning and feeding a cat, and saved the cat and its owners stress.

When the Whanganui branch was failing, the national office had three options, Mr Auger said. They could close it, try to fix the problems and then turn it back to local management, which would take a "reasonable amount of money", or merge it.

"There certainly wasn't enough money in the pot to put it back to local governance, and we didn't want to close it.

"It would be a massive loss to Whanganui."

Mr Auger said donations and fundraising would be key to keeping the branch afloat.

"We really survive on generous people in the public donating to us."

For people who couldn't donate, the SPCA is always looking for anyone with a spare room in their house to foster kittens, or mother cats with kittens. The SPCA pays for all their needs, and fosterers return kittens to be desexed.

Another way people can help is by donating old blankets and towels. "We're always short of towels. With a lot of animals comes a lot of cleaning."

And then there's always volunteering.

The Wanganui SPCA branch can be contacted on 06 345 3369.