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Cats Protection launches Fix ‘Em February campaign offering free cat neutering

Fix ‘Em February is the first ever pet cat neutering campaign from the local

Ballymena team at Cats Protection, aiming to help to keep some cats happy and safe and prevent the unnecessary suffering of unwanted litters.

The newest branch of Cats Protection, the UK’s biggest feline welfare charity, launched here in Ballymena in September 2020.

Cats Protection Ballymena is a fully run by a very small, dedicated group of unpaid volunteers, who work from our their own homes as the organisation does not have physical locations or shelters/rescues. Locally the team are primarily dedicated to ‘Trap - Neuter - Return’, neutering at a rate of around 400-500 cats a year, but still struggle keep up with demand.

With ‘kitten season’ soon to start again, the group currently have over 500 unneutered feral/stray cats on our waiting list despite neutering diligently over the last year. It is hoped that the Fix ‘Em February campaign will help prevent unwanted cat litters and will limit the amount of stray and feral cats needing assistance.

New requests to our wait list are having to wait many months, and we know the kitten season will make this worse. Every single pet cat neutered before the season will help!”

Every stray and feral cat problem begins with one breeding pet cat, as kittens born outside accidentally will become ‘feral’, having had no contact with humans, and cannot be neutered without trapping assistance which is very limited.

If you feed a stray unowned cat, or you are on any form of benefits, pension, or a full-time student owner you can avail of the Cats Protection subsidised £5 neutering scheme which operates all year round. More information can be found here:

The Cats Protection Fix ’Em February neutering campaign will be supported by a number of participating local vets - The Mill Veterinary Clinic in Broughshane, Ballymena Pet Vet in Ballymena and Grove Vets in Randalstown.

“We really need to appeal to everyone in our area and everywhere in Northern Ireland, not just Ballymena, to please neuter your pet cats at 4 months of age.”

Commenting at the launch of the campaign, Jodie, Adoption Team Leader & Foster Volunteer said:

“Currently we have a kitten in our care called Jodie. She was thrown from a jeep, and is deaf and mostly blind due to meningitis. She is thankfully now stable and will be up for adoption at the end of this week.

Josie was thrown from a car as an unwanted kitten, deaf and mostly blind due to suspected meningitis infection of the brain. The picture above was taken when a member of the public found her. And pictured below, after in being safe and stable in the care of the team. She has just been neutered at the recommended 4 months old before she soon goes up for adoption.

“Our other kitten, Goose, was rushed to the emergency vets on Boxing Day evening as myself and another of our volunteers dropped everything to attend an emergency call. Goose was, no exaggeration, the most emaciated kitten I have ever seen, dehydrated and on deaths door.

“He is doing well now, but is still weeks from being able to find a home. It was touch and go for a while and he had to spend many days on a drip in our vets.

Goose, who was abandoned on Boxing Day, has been nurtured and loved back to health.

“I have over 4 years of experience with this work now, and something always turns up worse than last year.

“Both of these were not feral or stray kittens, they were well used to contact and homes, and they were most certainly abandoned. This is unfortunately the outcome of many unwanted kittens, and when you home your unneutered pet cats’ kittens without proper checks or sell them, this is often where they end up.

“Kittens are cute until they aren’t – they are so very fragile, with such a high mortality rate, and things go wrong all the time. I just wish everyone would contact us before there are problems, not after.”

Colin, Ballymena Branch Team Leader added:

“Our volunteers work hard to do our best, but we and all other charities and rescues are constantly swimming against the tide of unneutered pet cats.

“We are contacted when mothers reject kittens, or we are contacted when pregnant pet cats are in trouble and the owners can’t afford the vet treatment.

“All we ask is please consider the risks and take some time to weigh the benefits before making the decision to have an unneutered cat, and if you need any questions answered or any advice, please do not hesitate to ask us. They can breed from 4 months of age and produce 18+ kittens per year – so it’s not an easy thing for them or for owners to deal with.”

Fix ‘Em February is now open for bookings and appointments will take place throughout February and March time. The scheme is open to pet cat owners within the BT42, BT43 and Randalstown Central areas who are not able to avail of the normal year-round £5 neutering scheme.

These appointments will neuter and microchip pet cats from 4 months of age, at no cost. Donations are of course very welcome even if it’s only a small contribution, as all donations made to the campaign will be directed back in again to provide more funded neutering spaces.

Donations can be made in-person at the appointment or online at the link below:

Spaces are limited. If you truly need this assistance, please book now as once funded spaces are gone and all donations used up, the campaign will end.

You can find out more information campaign eligibility, and how to book an appointment here:

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