Making healthy pets accessible to everyone is the goal of a new spay and neuter clinic geared towards low income families in Sydney, N.S.

The Sydney area has had a major problem with feral cats for some time, with more than 20-thousand feral and stray cats. But a new chapter is starting at the Cape Breton SPCA branch, a clinic that hopes to reduce that number significantly.

The new clinic is dedicated to fixing the overpopulation of abandoned cats in the CBRM.

“There is a cat crisis in Nova Scotia”, said Sandra Flemming, Animal Care Director at the SPCA. “In our clinic in Halifax we've done over five thousand [spays and neuters], and we actually saw a reduction in the breeding cycle.”

Carmen Dunn, President of the Feral and Abandon Cats Society, said there are over twenty thousand abandoned cats in the municipality alone and having the new clinic here means all animals leaving the SPCA will be spayed and neutered to avoid contributing to the issue.

The biggest barrier when it comes to controlling the pet population is cost. The new clinic is hoping to help with that issue.

And Dunn agreed. “Absolutely it will help. People have been asking for this service and now it's here, so now it's just a matter of making sure everybody knows it's here and making sure they take advantage of it.”

The construction of the facility was funded by Petsmart Charities of Canada, which put forward $181,000 for the expansion. The clinic is only the second in the province and has its own full-time veterinarian.

Normally, the spay and neuter procedure costs between two hundred and four hundred dollars. But now veterinarian, Leslie Pyke, explains, “It allows us to have families who love their pets very much, but just may not have the funds available to be able to spay and neuter their pet.”

There is already a waiting list and officials say there are steps people need to follow before having the procedure done on their pets like providing of income based on the number of people in their home.

The clinic is expected to spay or neuter four thousand animals annually. Ensuring all animals adopted will be fixed before finding their new home.