Help to stop our cat cri­sis

Can you give an an­i­mal a lov­ing home and a new start in life?

Harefield Gazette - - ANIMAL NEWS -

NO one can look at a small kit­ten and not feel their heart melt just a lit­tle bit. Well, no one in the RSPCA Hilling­don of­fice, any­way. The prob­lem is that kit­tens grow up to be cats and here in the UK, put sim­ply, we al­ready have too many cats.

There are an es­ti­mated 7.5 mil­lion do­mes­tic pet cats in the UK, plus an un­known num­ber of feral cats, and the num­bers are ris­ing at alarm­ing rates.

In some res­i­den­tial parts of London, there are an es­ti­mated 800 cats per square mile. Charities such as the RSPCA are find­ing their cat­ter­ies full, con­stantly burst­ing with adult cats, with not enough peo­ple to adopt them.

Around three-quar­ters of cat own­ers first bring their fe­line friend home as a kit­ten, mean­ing that the pool of po­ten­tial adop­tive house­holds for adult cats is re­duced. This has now reached national cri­sis lev­els.

So how can you help? The very best thing you can do is to neuter your cat or cats im­me­di­ately. Vets rec­om­mend that kit­tens can be neutered at around four months old. In­deed, they can reach sex­ual ma­tu­rity at around five months, mean­ing that if you do not hurry up you may end up with an un­wanted lit­ter of kit­tens on your hands.

A fe­male can pro­duce up to six kit­tens three times a year – that’s a lot of tiny mouths to feed. Preg­nancy and birth bring risks and com­pli­ca­tions, as well as costs – would you recog­nise if your preg­nant cat was strug­gling and needed a cae­sarean? Would you know when to call the vet? Could you af­ford to?

If a fe­male cat has not been neutered, she will keep com­ing into sea­son and dis­play­ing un­char­ac­ter­is­tic and er­ratic be­hav­iours as she sub­mits to her nat­u­ral urges to find a male.

You will find all the lo­cal tom cats beat­ing a path to your door – a path which they will spray lib­er­ally, leav­ing their eye-wa­ter­ing scent all around and wak­ing you up with their howl­ing.

Many un­neutered males carry FIV (Fe­line Im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency Virus), an in­cur­able dis­ease sim­i­lar to HIV in hu­mans.

If your cat is neutered, he or she will be much, much less likely to roam long dis­tances at night time, less likely to be in­jured cross­ing a road, less likely to get into fights with other cats, less likely to suf­fer from cer­tain se­ri­ous in­fec­tions and more likely to live a long and happy life.

In sum­mary, as well as help­ing to keep the UK cat pop­u­la­tion un­der con­trol, neu­ter­ing has a wealth of ben­e­fits for you and for your cats. If you love cats, neu­ter­ing re­ally is the only hu­mane op­tion.

Our RSPCA Hilling­don Clinic of­fers sub­sidised neu­ter­ing. If the cost of neu­ter­ing is put­ting you off, please give us a ring on 01895 231 435 – we may be able to help.

Simba is a very lively one-year-old male ter­rier cross­breed on the look­out for an ac­tive lov­ing home. He is full-on fun, loves his toys and re­sponds well to re­ward-based train­ing. In­volve­ment in some­thing like fly­ball or agility would be ideal to help chan­nel his bound­less en­ergy.

How­ever, as a young dog who has missed out on some for­ma­tive so­cial­i­sa­tion, he does like to test (or even shove!) the bound­aries, so must go to an ex­pe­ri­enced home pre­pared to take on the train­ing chal­lenges. No cats/small fur­ries or chil­dren un­der the age of 15 please.

He would love a doggy friend, but this would need to be a con­fi­dent young­ster who could tol­er­ate his bois­ter­ous at­ten­tions and rough and tum­ble style of play.

Simba is crate and house-trained. If you can pro­vide our lovely Simba with the ex­pe­ri­enced guid­ance he needs, a life­time of love and plenty to keep him busy, please get in touch.

Moggy is one of our friendly fe­lines look­ing for her for­ever home. Moggy is a quiet and laid-back lady with a beau­ti­ful tor­toise­shell coat who en­joys af­fec­tion and fuss on her own terms. Her favourite pas­time is cud­dling up in her comfy bed whilst watch­ing the world go by.

Although Moggy is lovely with peo­ple, she would be best suited to a house where if there are chil­dren present, they are over eight years old.

Moggy would like to be the only cat in the house­hold, although she could live with a laid-back dog pro­vid­ing Moggy had her own space to re­treat to.

Moggy would like to find her for­ever home re­ally soon so that she can get all of the love and fuss she de­serves.

Visit www.rspc­ahilling­don­clinic.org.uk to view all of our an­i­mals and down­load an adop­tion ap­pli­ca­tion form.

We would be grate­ful for any do­na­tions of old sheets and blan­kets to use for bed­ding for the an­i­mals and we are al­ways happy to re­ceive do­na­tions of pet food and toys for the an­i­mals to play with. These can be brought into our clinic at 16 Cres­cent Pa­rade, Hilling­don UB10 0LG.

HOME­LESS: Moggy and Simba (left)

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