Helping Cats in Hong Kong: When Low-Cost Spay/Neuter is the Norm
Because of the city’s exorbitant living and pet costs, not to mention a thriving trade in prized pedigrees and the abundance of “fancy things” available for our animal companions, having a pet in Hong Kong can be something of a status symbol.
But what about the average cat parent? After all, there are still working cats, low-income families, and community cats whose guardians may want to spay or neuter their pets but are unable to do so. How does this affect cat guardians?
Interestingly, you don’t often hear people say they can’t afford to spay or neuter their cats and dogs here.
I’ve learned a few things about pet ownership in Hong Kong over the last 12 years. While some details may change, the city’s commitment to pet owners will not. This is fantastic news for anyone who wants to spay or neuter the cats and dogs in their care, whether they are family pets or community members. People will be less likely to hesitate to help animals in need now that this is out of the way.
The SPCA in Hong Kong runs a mobile spay/neuter clinic, which has been put on hold due to the pandemic for the past year or so. Previously, if you were to call ahead and request an appointment, they would get back to you with a time that works for the pet guardians, as the clinic travels to different neighborhoods on a set schedule. A male cat can be neutered for $100 HKD (approximately $13) and a female cat can be spayed for $200 HKD (approximately $26), not including the small cost of additional medicine. They usually do a good job, and sterilizing one’s cat or dog is a huge help to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds; I’ve even heard of people experiencing financial hardship or on the verge of becoming homeless being able to do it for their pets. This is truly wonderful news.
Furthermore, there is a program called SNAP – Spay Neuter Assistance Programme (CSSAR) – that assists people who are struggling to make ends meet by paying to have their cats and dogs spayed or neutered. The same is true if social workers can make appropriate SNAP – Spay Neuter Assistance Programme (SWR) referrals for these individuals.
Despite the fact that the mobile clinic service has been suspended for several years, you can still bring your cat to the SPCA to have it spayed or neutered for $490 HKD (about $63 USD) or $400 HKD (about $52 USD) if you are a member ($450 HKD, about $58 USD per year).
The SPCA SNAP vet clinics, on the other hand, have over 80 locations throughout Hong Kong, making them easily accessible. Couples can apply for SPCA mail-to-you subsidies, which are worth $100 HKD for male cats and $200 HKD for female cats.
In contrast, the SPCA and NPV (non-profit veterinary services) offer free veterinary care to community stray cats and dogs. However, in order to qualify for NPV’s services, cats and dogs must be local “village dogs” or domestic cat breeds. In most cases, this entails following standard procedures such as having their ears tipped and/or microchipping them, among other things.
Many private veterinarians in Hong Kong waive or reduce their fees to a nominal amount if they are aware that the animal is a stray or has been rescued. These are becoming increasingly common nowadays.
Furthermore, the rescuer of an eligible animal only needs to pay the first day’s NPV fees, and the organization will cover the rest of the animal’s care costs. As a result, people are much more likely to help animals in need.
In Hong Kong, pet guardians from all walks of life can find hope and support. The availability of spay/neuter services at a reasonable cost, free veterinary care for community animals, and the generosity of private veterinarians demonstrate the community’s compassion. This is truly refreshing to see in the bustling city of Hong Kong, that we have devised such schemes to care for animals in need.
MeloCat, real name Melody, is a cat content creator and educator. She is known as the girl with ten cats in a more organized apartment than most people’s 1-2 cat households. Her own experiences with cats inspired her to educate cat parents on the importance of optimizing their workflow and setting themselves up for success while caring for their cats. She’s been the go-to person when people come across cats and animals in need of help, such as rehoming, fostering, and adopting, as well as assisting cat parents in redesigning their lifestyle in order to achieve harmony with their cats.