Officials at the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA are crediting increased public awareness for the record number of cats and dogs that were spayed or neutered at their companion animal hospital in 2016.
Karen Reichheld, manager of animal care and adoptions, noted 4,010 surgeries were done last year, up from 3,329 in 2015.
Of that number Reichheld said about 2,600 cats were fixed and the rest were dogs.
They were also vaccinated against rabies and micro-chipped.
Among the cat surgeries, 950 low income cat owners paid only $20 to have their pet spayed or neutered thanks to a $35,000 grant from Pet Smart and part of the annual $65,000 gift from the estate of former Hamilton cab owner and cat lover George Seliga.
Most of the Seliga money will be used this year to help pay for the spaying or neutering of 1,200 cats in low income communities.
“These people love their cats and they want to do the right thing,” said Reichheld, who noted SPCA officials will be taking the co-pay program into low income areas, including Rolston neighbourhood on the west Mountain, in the coming months to register more cats for the procedure.
She noted Hamilton continues to have a serious overpopulation of cats.
Last year the local SPCA adopted out 1,254 cats, 689 dogs and 168 small creatures such as guinea pigs and hamsters.
Reichheld said almost all the animals that come into their facility eventually find a home and those who do not get adopted are turned over to animal rescue groups and other organizations.