If you are a cat owner and have not had your pet desexed because of the cost, a special Massey University and SPCA programme may be able to help.

Massey-SPCA Desexing Clinic offers highly reduced rates for people with Community Services or Gold cards, meaning it costs $10 for a male cat to be desexed and $20 for a female cat.

The clinic was founded in 2017 as a collaboration between the Massey University School of Veterinary Science and SPCA Palmerston North.

Its aim is to provide low-cost desexing services to pet owners who cannot afford to have their cats seen at a regular veterinary clinic, and give veterinary students and veterinary technology students more hands-on clinical experience.

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All of the procedures take place at Massey's Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Palmerston North, with the clinic run by staff and students who volunteer.

The fee charged covers a physical examination, anaesthesia, surgery, post-operative pain relief, and a follow-up call to make sure the cat is recovering well from surgery.

All the procedures are same-day.

The fee also covers a lifetime microchip and registration to help prevent pets getting lost and help return them to their owners if they are found.

Desexing cats not only prevents unwanted litters of kittens, a significant number of whom end up at animal shelters such as those run by the SPCA, it also has health benefits for the animal and helps prevent male cats roaming to find a mate.

The NZ Cat Rescue Organisation website says desexing male cats helps prevent injuries often caused while wandering in search of mates and fighting with other cats such as infected wounds and abscesses, as well as preventing malignant tumours of the testicles, prostate cancer and other prostate issues, and the possibility of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) while fighting with other undesexed male cats.

In female cats, desexing prevents mammary cancer, uterus infection, FIV, injury during mating and searching for mates, a depressed immune system and poor physical health from having multiple litters, as well as tumours of the uterus and ovaries.

Early-age desexing prevents the development of antisocial behaviours associated with sexual maturity in cats, such as spraying urine and wandering, as well as absolutely guaranteeing no unwanted kittens, with many put down in shelters each year, the organisation said.

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As long as you can get your cat to the desexing clinic at Massey University, residents in Horowhenua can use this service too.

To register your cat for the Massey-SPCA Desexing Clinic, visit www.masseyspcadesexing.org/register-your-cat/