Cats at capacity in GAWS shelter

DREAMING OF HOME: GAWS' Cara Kirwin with Lilith. (Rebecca Hosking) 182487

By Luke Voogt

Geelong cats – the non-footballing kind – are searching for the purr-fect human to cuddle this winter with shelters bursting at the seams with tabbies.

Council and Geelong Animal Welfare Society are not kitten around, with discounts on desexing and adoption to clear GAWS of paws.

GAWS’ Moolap shelter was at “absolute“ feline capacity with 354 adult cats, the group’s Cara Kirwin said.

“Of this figure, we have 114 cats available for adoption with 140 cats in foster care coming back daily.”

The remainder were lost and sick cats – with owners having eight days to collect their missing puss, Cara said.

A mild winter, prolonging kitten season, and low micro-chipping rates led to the paw-ful catastrophe, she said.

“There tends to be a lot of cats that get displaced this time of year.”

GAWS has reduced adoption fees until 14 July so cats like the affectionate Lilith can find a new human to worship and love them.

At 18 months, Lilith had “plenty of life left in her” after her former owner gave her to GAWS, Cara said.

Fellow GAWS feline ambassador Bear might look like a deer caught in headlights, due to an eye condition, but he is actually “very playful”, she said.

But “secret admirer” Layla, who was also up for adoption, might watch from a distance a little while before falling for her new owners, Cara said.

Council and local vets have joined the claws, discounting desexing, flea and worming treatments, micro-chipping and registration fees this month.

One pair of cats could produce up to 132 kittens in a four-year period, Cara said.

“It is critical to have them de-sexed as young as possible,” Cara said.

“Kittens can get pregnant from four or five months – people don’t realise that they can fall pregnant at such a young age.”

The discounted services for furry friends come with a complementary bag of cat food. For a full list of participating vets visit

“We’d encourage cat owners to take advantage of our discounted desexing program in July and help reduce the number of unwanted cats and kittens across Greater Geelong,” council’s Joanne Van Slageren said.

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