A free neutering service is to be held at a Sheffield shopping centre in a bid to deal with the city's spiralling cat population.
Cat owners across the city are being urged to prevent unwanted litters and get their pets spayed for free at the RSPCA organised event which will take place at Crystal Peaks on August 18.
Figures have revealed that Sheffield is below the national average for neutered cats and vets are keen to tackle the city's cat overpopulation crisis.
The scheme has already neutered more than 800 cats in an effort to tackle the problem.
Run by Cat Smart, the RSPCA-funded project, is aimed at easing the cat overpopulation crisis in Sheffield. The charity believes that the key to tackling the crisis is to have cats neutered from four-months-old to avoid unwanted litters.
Members of the public are invited to take part in fun activities in the main circle of the shopping centre and there will also be a quiet shop used as a pop-up neutering clinic for owners to get their cats spayed for free.
The event will take place from 10am.
The RSPCA receives a call about cats to its national control centre on average every three seconds which is why schemes like this are so important.
Cat Smart, which has been running for 12 months, has neutered 884 cats and 460 of these were female. This means that the scheme has potentially prevented 8,280 unwanted kittens being born in just one year.
Carrie Stones, Cat Population Control Manager at the RSPCA, said: “Sheffield is significantly lower than the national average in terms of the percentage of owners who neuter their cats.
"Nationally, the neutering rate is at 91% according to the PDSA paws report 2018. This equates to about 999,000 unneutered cats in the UK, which is a very significant number in itself.
“In Sheffield, the neutering rate is estimated at 86% which is significantly below the national average, this is why we wanted to set up Cat Smart in Sheffield and so far it has been very successful.
“As so many unwanted cats and kittens end up coming into RSPCA centres and branches, as well as other charities, we knew we had to act to try and tackle the overpopulation of cats and change people’s attitude towards neutering.”
Members of the public can still sign-up to bring their cats along for free neutering and microchipping. The event is supported by Springfield Vets who will be carrying out the procedures on the day.
There will also be face painting, the RSPCA‘s cat mascot and Travis the Cat, the Sheffield Cat Shelter mascot as well as the sale of cat and kitten goods.
A number of charities and volunteers will help out on the day including vets and vet nurses, PDSA reception staff, RSPCA staff, volunteers for the Cat Smart scheme, The Sheffield Cat Shelter and volunteers from Cats Protection.
Those attending the event will also be asked to take part in a questionnaire put together by the University of Sheffield. The psychology department has teamed up with Cat Smart and is working on a project which tries to understand people’s behaviour and attitudes towards neutering.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/CatSmartSheffield