Just as there's no such thing as a "free lunch", there's no such thing as a "free cat". Yet many people don't realize this when they take home a stray cat — or adopt one in front of Walmart or on Craigslist — or take kittens from a friend whose cat had a litter. Then — just as their indoor pet is becoming their soulmate, the problems set in — the spraying, yowling and kittening of an intact mature cat — and, with it, the expense of a spay/neuter.
For caregivers who can afford it, this "problem" is just a blip in the relationship — they simply call their vet and schedule a spay or neuter surgery which takes care of the problem. But — for many caregivers, the cost of this is prohibitive and they ultimately relinquish their cat to a shelter or abandon it outdoors and — often — then look for another free cat.
We provide this group with an alternative — by filling out a brief telephone application (subject to the eligibility requirements below), we can provide them with a free spay/neuter voucher to use at their local vet clinic. Everyone wins with this solution — the cat gets a forever home, the shelters don't have another cat to intake and the community sees a reduction in the number of feral cat colonies.
If you're a caregiver providing quality indoor care for a cat you rescued, this program is for you. If you're seeking help getting a cat fixed that's needy but more loosely cared for — as a porch cat, a foster cat or in a feral colony — consider one of our Community Cat Outreach partners for assistance. If you're outside of their service areas, check with your local vet clinic for other alternatives.
To apply, simply call us and complete a brief telephone application. If we can approve it, we’ll mail a voucher to you for each unfixed pet cat in your care — usually the very next working day. We have no waiting list and process applications year‐round. After you receive the voucher, you may schedule your appointment with any of our participating clinics.
Our vouchers pay the full cost for the following services — so if you have only these services performed, there is no cost to you. (If you authorize additional work, it will be at your expense.)
Optional services: In addition to the services listed above, some but not all of our participating clinics provide a free microchip, FVRCP vaccination and/or treatment for visible parasites at the time of surgery. If any of these additional services are important to you, select a clinic that includes them.
We ask that you schedule the surgeries as soon as you receive your vouchers. Although they carry an expiration date of 6 weeks from issuance, that is to give the clinic flexibility in scheduling. After your voucher expires, you may still use it during its 30‐day grace period if the clinic needs more time to schedule you in or if your cat is pregnant or nursing or too sick or young to fix earlier. After the grace period, the voucher expires absolutely and cannot be re‐issued.
To apply for our free‐and‐local spay/neuter vouchers you must be the head of your low‐income household and be providing lifetime indoor care for your pet cat.
For purposes of our application:
Reasons your application may be turned down include:
As a general rule, we cannot process applications for caregivers who do not fully cooperate with the application process, give us inconsistent, incomplete or erroneous information, have received vouchers before and did not use them or did not cooperate fully with the vet clinic, or no longer have the cats that were listed on earlier applications.
During the interview, you’ll be asked for the following:
If you don’t receive your vouchers within a week of your application date, call us to find out why. We’ve found the local postal service to be spotty and so they may have been lost in the mail. And when we go to process an application, occasionally we run into questions or concerns and hold your application for clarification. Rarely we receive an application we are not able to approve. If this is the case with your application, we’ll explain why when you call to follow‐up and give you some suggestions of other ways to get your cat fixed. In 2017 we received over 1,800 applications and 1,400 of them were approved so the odds are pretty good you’ll receive a voucher.
Since we are providing vouchers solely for indoor pet cats and we require that all cats in your home be fixed during the same voucher period, reapplication is generally unnecessary. But — if you occasionally adopt a new cat you may reapply subject to the conditions listed above.