A pilot project which is bringing together animal charities and vets across Sheffield for a common purpose is marking International Cat Day today (Tuesday 8 August).

Cat Smart Sheffield has been created to tackle a ‘crisis’ in unwanted cats and kittens in the city.

Six charities – Cat’s Protection, PDSA, Rain Rescue, RSPCA Sheffield Branch and Sheffield Cat Shelter – and eight local veterinary practices* are taking part in the one-year pilot project, funded and led by the national RSPCA.

Carrie Stones, Cat Population Control Manager for the North, who is managing the project, said: “We’re at Firth Park Family Fun Day today, talking to people about their cats and giving out free neutering and microchipping vouchers.

“Neutering and microchipping your cat has so many benefits for them, for you, for the cat population.

“The idea that you should allow a female cat to have one litter is a nonsense – in fact neutering your female cat before she has a litter can prevent illnesses later in life.

“For male cats neutering means they will stray less, and get into fewer fights with other cats.

“There simply are not enough homes for the number of cats needing them, and we know that people can and do find themselves in difficulties if their cat has an unexpected litter.

“Sometimes these cats and kittens are abandoned. Sometimes they suffer as a result of their owners being unable to provide what they need. Often they end up in the care of an animal welfare charity.

“It is a huge problem.”

The RSPCA receives a call about cats on average every three minutes and answers more calls about cats than any other animal.

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This means there are currently hundreds of cats in our centres – more than the number of dogs and rabbits combined – and a cat overpopulation crisis facing the UK in general.

Cat Smart Sheffield is doing events in five ‘hotspots’ where the majority of cat abandonment and rescues occur in Sheffield have been identified – S1, S2, S3, S5 and S9.

The project is at Firth Park Library, Firth Park Road, S5 6QQ until 3pm today but you don’t but you don’t have to be from one of these areas to receive the project’s help, or get involved.

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