RSPCA, vets and Blue Mountains council combine for CAWS subsidised desexing progam

Global warming could be the reason behind the "kitten tsunami" hitting the Blue Mountains at the moment.

RSPCA NSW Blue Mountains shelter manager Rosalie Horton said the kitten season used to occur in Spring and taper off in April, but it's now a year round problem.

"We now call it the kitten tsunami, we are sadly dealing with kittens all year around," Ms Horton said. "It has such a huge impact... There was a study that said global warming might be contributing to more breeding... It's the beautiful Blue Mountains and having cats that are not desexed roaming in the community has a devastating impact on the wildlife."

Pictured with a five-week-old kitten, part of the litter of a recently surrendered pregnant female at the Katoomba branch of the animal welfare group, Ms Horton said they are constantly searching for new volunteers to help out with unwanted animals.

But in the meantime the shelter is doing what it can to help those on a pension or health care card by ensuring the cost of desexing, microchipping and vaccinating their pet is capped at $50.

"We see way too many unwanted litters of animals. It's a prevention program."

This subsidised desexing program is called CAWS - Community Animal Welfare Scheme - and is run in co-ordination with some local vets and Blue Mountains Council.

RSPCA NSW has run the program since 2004. Blue Mountains Council has subsidised the $15,000 program locally since 2011. Five thousand dollars is contributed by council, Katoomba branch raises more than $10,000 and local vets charge a limited fee for their services.

Blue Mountains Council's Rodney Bles said the program is a cost saver for council by helping reunite lost pets quickly with their owners.

"It's an investment and we can see the returns," he said.

The program is also an opportunity to increase community awareness about the importance of desexing, as well as other aspects of responsible pet ownership. It reduces the number of animals being euthanased in pounds and shelters by providing the low-cost desexing, microchipping and vaccination services.

Australia's feral cat population is estimated at between 2.1 and 6.3 million. Since 2016, 327 animals have been through the program locally, Mr Bles said.

Wentworth Falls Animal Hospital has 10 spots left for the popular program which began in February and ends on June 30.

  • Other participating vets: Blackheath Veterinarian Clinic, Blaxland Veterinarian Clinic, Greencross Vets Winmalee, Katoomba Veterinarian Clinic, Selwood House Veterinary Hospital and Springwood Veterinarian Clinic. Contact the vets directly to book.