BRITISH-BASED animal protection group Kismet Account recently carried out its largest stray animal neutering project in the Algarve. A group of unpaid, voluntary, self funding vets, nurses and animal welfare professionals from the UK, neutered 278 cats and 73 dogs in November.
This was the 10th project they have carried out in the Algarve since 2002. The group has three basic principles – they never charge to neuter a cat; they never fundraise outside the UK; and they try to do as much work with as little fuss as they can.
During the project in the Algarve, the Kismet Account group was presented with a number of animals which had been previously neutered but marked only by tattoo and some of these tattoos had already faded. Most were only visible when the animal was asleep. All these cats ended up being caught unnecessarily and anaesthetised again before the tattoos were spotted.
There is a scientifically evaluated method of identifying cats that are neutered, invented by veterinary experts, and this is the ear-tip. It is used worldwide and has been the method of choice promoted by organisations including the RSPCA, WSPA, Cats Protection, Alley Cat Allies and the ASPCA. It is a painless method (applied while the cat is asleep being neutered) that does not affect the cat’s hearing or balance. Ear tipping is the only visibly artificial method that can be seen from a distance.
It is essential that if you take a feral cat to be neutered, you insist that, for the cat’s own welfare, it is ear tipped. Not only are you preventing the cat from unnecessary future trauma of being caught and sometimes operated on again, but you are also preventing the fraudulent use of free feral cat neutering by those who try to get their own pets neutered on the cheap.