Neutering is the only humane way to control the rapidly increasing cat population on the island, the head of the cat protection and welfare society (CatPAWS) Dinos Ayiomamitis said on Tuesday as reports say their number has reached two million.
However, Ayiomamitis said even though there are too many strays on the island, two million is a far too big a number.
He also stressed the need for the government and municipalities to take proactive measures to control numbers.
“Unless drastic measures are taken, within one or two years we will lose control,” Ayiomamitis said. “A female cat can have up to three pregnancies a year with six or seven kittens each time,” he added.
He said that Cat PAWS has arranged with several vets in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca to offer cat neutering at €40 for female and €25 for male cats.
“In 2013, 933 cats were neutered through this programme, with the costs for 256 of those cats, paid either partially or totally by Cat PAWS,” he said.
Ayiomamitis also said the organisation recognises the difficulty of capturing a stray cat so they have special traps that are harmless to animals and arrange to go on site and capture the cat so it can be transferred to the vet for the procedure.
He also said that the organisation helps pay for cat neutering for people who belong to vulnerable groups.
Nicosia municipality is currently running a programme for stray cat neutering and Strovolos municipality has pledged to arrange neutering for the stray cats of the Pedieos Park within its jurisdiction.
“We have installed houses for the stray cats of the park and they are also fed, but I ask people not to dump any unwanted kittens there, because that beats the purpose,” Ayiomamitis said.
He urged all municipalities to arrange a €2,000 annual budget to help their citizens neuter cats and said the state veterinary services had a €50,000 budget for cat neutering until three years ago but it was discontinued due to the crisis.
For more information on cat neutering Tel: 99 698503 or 99 326045 in the Famagusta area