An animal shelter west of Montreal will be giving away cats for free over the holidays in order to spare them from euthanasia.

Hundreds of cats at the over-capacity Valleyfield SPCA may be facing death because the shelter cannot care for the surplus cats.

The shelter is currently housing 300 cats, even though it has room only for 100. The SPCA said it needs to get rid of at least 250 cats or they will be have to be put down.

Valleyfield SPCA director Pierre Bourbonnais said that the shelter will waive the adoption fees for all cats that are more than one-year-old, essentially making adoption free.

As for kittens, they will be $50 instead of their normal rate of $125.

All cats will be sterilized, vaccinated and de-wormed before being handed over to their new owners.

Bourbonnais said giving away the cats for free will not solve the problem with overpopulation. He also said it is not a recipe for hasty gift giving.

"When people come by... we really question them. We ask them how much time they are going to spend with the animal and have they had any animals before. We try to find out the background," he said.

The SPCA's adoption blitz starts on Saturday and lasts until Christmas Eve.

If you are interested in adopting a cat, you can call 450-377-2428.