Hunt on to home un­wanted kit­tens

It’s that time of year when thou­sands of kit­tens will need homes, writes

Rodney Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

As the glo­ri­ous ef­fects of day­light sav­ings re­mind us that sum­mer is just around the corner, an­other sea­son is al­ready mak­ing its ‘‘me­owk’’ on an­i­mal wel­fare cen­tres all over New Zealand.

Kit­ten sea­son might sound cute, but an­i­mal wel­fare cen­tres like the SPCA get over­whelmed with the vol­ume of un­wanted kit­tens that purr through their doors ev­ery day.

Thou­sands of preg­nant cats dur­ing spring and early sum­mer con­trib­ute to what’s known as kit­ten sea­son, a six-month pe­riod (roughly Oc­to­ber through March) when thou­sands more furry fe­lines are born and need to find homes.

But as win­ters get warmer, cats are get­ting preg­nant sooner, kit­ten sea­son is get­ting longer, and more un­wanted kit­tens are on the hunt for homes.

Dr Shalsee Vigeant, SPCA Auck­land’s Head of Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices, says the so­lu­tion to our ever-in­creas­ing cat pop­u­la­tion is de­sex­ing.

‘‘One of the most help­ful things you can do for an­i­mal wel­fare in New Zealand is to get your pets de­sexed,’’ Dr Vigeant says. ‘‘It’s so sim­ple, but it goes a long way in re­duc­ing un­wanted an­i­mal num­bers and help­ing the SPCA fo­cus on things like the in­spec­torate, ed­u­ca­tion and an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy.’’

Of course, de­sex­ing doesn’t pre­vent kit­tens that have al­ready been born. So what do you do if you stum­ble across a ‘‘nest’’ of stray kit­tens?

‘‘Don’t im­me­di­ately re­move them from where they are,’’ says Dr Vigeant. ‘‘Even if you can’t see mum, she is prob­a­bly around. She may be away tem­po­rar­ily hunt­ing for food, she may be hid­ing be­cause you’re there, or she may be mov­ing the fam­ily, one by one. Keep an eye on the kit­tens from a dis­tance. If the mum doesn’t come back af­ter a few hours, call your lo­cal SPCA or vet for ad­vice.’’

If the kit­tens be­long to your cat, Dr Vigeant ad­vises own­ers to try to re­home them them­selves first.

‘‘Dur­ing kit­ten sea­son, the SPCA gets hun­dreds of kit­tens through its doors,’’ she says. ‘‘While we do our best to help each and ev­ery kit­ten, it puts a lot of pres­sure on us. If the kit­tens are not sick or in­jured, we en­cour­age peo­ple to try to re­home un­wanted kit­tens them­selves by ask­ing fam­ily, friends or their com­mu­nity via plat­forms like Neigh­bourly.’’

‘‘Res­cue or­gan­i­sa­tions work to re­home an­i­mals in need, and re­duce the num­ber of un­wanted an­i­mals,’’ says Dr Vigeant. ‘‘Fur­ther­more, the SPCA en­sures all an­i­mals are healthy and pre­pared for their new home be­fore adop­tion. All an­i­mals are vet-checked, de­sexed, vac­ci­nated, wormed, treated for fleas and mi­crochipped. We want ev­ery an­i­mal to find the right home, so we talk with you to un­der­stand your life­style and needs and make sure we match you to the right pet.’’

And re­mem­ber, an­i­mals have rights too. ‘‘It is an of­fence un­der the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act to aban­don an an­i­mal,’’ says Dr Vigeant. ‘‘If you can­not care for an an­i­mal, please give your lo­cal SPCA a call.’’

SPCA

Kit­ten sea­son is un­for­tu­nately a busy one for the SPCA.

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