THE RSPCA Wiltshire Mid branch is offering local cat owners help with the cost of neutering their pets to mark this year’s World Spay Day, now in its 25th year, which is recognised by animal charities in nearly 70 countries worldwide.

In the UK the RSPCA joins forces with several other well-known names to promote spaying/neutering programmes in order to improve the health and welfare of many hundreds of cats. Recent research has shown that 68% of litters of kittens in the UK are unplanned - and that some of these litters are born to cats which are just four months old. “Cats can get pregnant while they are still kittens, which is why we advise that cats are spayed when they are four months old, before they are free to venture outdoors unsupervised,” said Andrew Sheppard, RSPCA Wiltshire Mid Branch chairman.

“Spaying, which is also known as neutering, fixing or being ‘done’ can prevent this and can also protect your pet from developing potentially deadly diseases of the ovaries and uterus.

“Many people believe that cats should be allowed to have a litter of kittens before being spayed, but this simply isn’t true - the sooner a cat has been spayed, vaccinated and microchipped, the sooner she can do all the things cats enjoy doing, like exploring the outside world. “Crucially it also gives you as the owner peace of mind that you have done everything you can to ensure the welfare of your pet.”

Male cats also benefit from being neutered. It makes them less likely to roam and fight, thereby reducing the risk of injury, infected wounds and contracting diseases, including FIV - the feline equivalent of HIV. The offer of free neutering runs until April 30 and is open to people living in the Melksham, Devizes, Westbury and Warminster areas.

To find out more go to the RSPCA Wiltshire Mid website at email or telephone 07494 240622.