MEDFORD — A local animal welfare organization, Spay/Neuter Your Pet, is offering low-cost neutering for male cats in an effort to reduce pet overpopulation.

MEDFORD — A local animal welfare organization, Spay/Neuter Your Pet, is offering low-cost neutering for male cats in an effort to reduce pet overpopulation.

Dubbed "Ten Bucks a Tom," the cost will be just $10 per neuter for male cats. Five hundred certificates are available for sale beginning July 1 on a first-come, first-served basis at Pet Country, the Medford, Ashland and White City Grange Co-ops and the Stewart and Crater Lake Mini Pet Marts. The certificates can be redeemed at any of the many participating veterinary offices listed on the back of the certificate, said Sally Mackler, SNYP executive director.

SNYP organized the campaign to bring public awareness to the importance of fixing male cats. Fewer than 30 percent of the animals SNYP assists are males, but the number of kittens surrendered at local animal shelters is staggering — and unfixed tomcats are one of the biggest causes, she said.

"We're going to target the toms," said Mackler. "It's a simpler surgery, it's cheaper and if we can get a bunch of them done, it might help with the problem of overpopulation."

A male cat does not have a heat cycle: It is ready, willing and able anytime, anywhere, and is extremely aggressive in hunting down any female in heat. While a female cat can have up to three litters a year, an active male cat can be responsible for hundreds of offspring a year, she said.

Neutering also reduces wandering, cat fights and scent spraying by male cats marking their territory.

"We get male cats in our shelter because people get them as kittens, do not neuter them, and then when they start tom-catting around and spraying, they dump them," said Mackler.

The toms must be tame to qualify for the program. After purchasing a certificate, the bearer must call a participating veterinarian by the end of July. But surgeries can be scheduled out as far as September, Mackler said.

Ten Bucks a Tom is funded in part by Friends of the Animal Shelter, which regularly partners with SNYP to promote spay and neuter efforts.

For more information, visit the SNYP Web site at www.spayneuter.org or call 858-3325.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.