Cat owners in the Bowl area of Prince George will be able to get their pets sterilized at no cost.
The offer from the North Cariboo SPCA is the result of a $86,249 grant from PetSmart Charities and the goal is to spay or neuter at least 800 cats over the next year.
The Bowl is being targeted in the belief that focusing on a smaller geographic area "will result in a lasting impact on the number of cats in the community," the SPCA said in a press release issued Thursday.
The eligible area is bounded by Foothills Boulevard and University Way to the west, the Nechako River, the Fraser River and Tyner Boulevard and Trent Drive to the south.
Although the operation will be done for free, recipients will be asked to donate $30 back to the fund if possible to enable more animals to be helped. The service typically costs $100 to $300 per cat.
"If cost was was their primary reason for not spaying or neutering their cat, now they have an option," assistant branch manager Sarah Thompson
Last year, 945 cats were rescued by the SPCA in Prince George, a much higher intake than other B.C. communities with similar human population.
Forty per cent were kittens from unwanted litters. Another 45 per cent were adult strays, many requiring extra medical care due to frostbite, ear mites and fleas.
The Port Alberni SPCA has received a similar grant.
To apply for the fund or for more information, contact the SPCA at 250-562-5511 or in person at the shelter, 4011 Lansdowne Road.