By Lee O’Mahoney and Livana Raczynski 

    Each year, many thousands of cats end up in cold metal cages at Victorian pounds and shelters. Approximately half are kittens. More than 50% are euthanased. 

    It’s this sad situation that led to two very experienced veterinarians establishing Westside Community Desexing in Sunshine, to save lives by preventing births. 

    Since late November 2021, the not for profit clinic has been providing high quality and lower cost cat desexing, with a vision of ‘desexing the west’.

    Cats can breed at just four months old, when just kittens themselves; each male and female pair can easily produce 12 kittens in just 12 months. 

    Research by the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation has found that making desexing more affordable and accessible is the quickest and cheapest way of reducing impounds and euthanasia and, by extension, stray cat numbers. 

    ‘At a private veterinary clinic in the west, desexing, microchipping and vaccinating a cat can cost up to $700, said Dr Penny Hocking, co-founder of Westside. 

    ‘By doing a more affordable ‘snip and chip’, we’re making cat desexing accessible to more western suburbs families, with flow-on benefits to cats, dogs, wildlife, communities and councils.

    High euthanasia rates are not just an animal issue. People are impacted, too.

    Co-founder Dr Ann Enright says most vets become vets because they love animals. ‘Constantly ending the lives of healthy animals can have a devastating impact. They have a higher risk of suicide and many leave the sector altogether’. 

    In an average week, Westside desexes 60 cats or kittens, with more than 3,850 desexed since they opened their doors.

    ‘Councils hold the key to ending the animal welfare crisis,’ she says. ‘We’re delighted to have so far helped Melton, Brimbank, Moonee Valley, Darebin and Merri-bek councils. We look forward to working with more’. 

    Brimbank concession card holders are now eligible for $49 cat desexing, microchipping and vaccination at Westside. To book, call 9364 8742 or email Councils wishing to establish a desexing program can email

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