VETS being unable to neuter cats during the Coronavirus lockdown is contributing to a pending kitten crisis, Bromsgrove’s Blue Cross has warned.
Many pet owners are unaware cats can become pregnant as young as four months old and there is usually a ‘kitten season’ spike between April and September.
But this year because vets have only been able to open for emergencies the number of cats being neutered is a lot less than there usually is.
Nationally the Blue Cross has taken in more than 200 kittens already this year and locally the Wildmoor Lane centre is experiencing a similar pattern.
Neil Edwards, Bromsgrove Blue Cross Centre Manager, said: “We are already seeing unplanned, unwanted litters of kittens handed over.
“Only the other day we took in a litter of four found in a box under an underpass, plus a new one-year-old mum with her litter of kittens.
“They are now in the safe hands of foster carers until they can find homes of their own.”
The charity is encouraging cat owners to keep their pets inside if they have not been neutered although it accepts that is not an easy task, particularly during the recent hot weather as they can become agitated and destructive.
The Blue Cross is therefore offering support from their in-house behaviour team to those in need through the launch of the ‘Sex Edu-Cat-ion’ campaign.
The ‘tough love’ drive is being backed by cat-loving stars Joanna Lumley, Anna Richardson and Asa Butterfield.
Alison Thomas, Joint Head of Veterinary Service at Blue Cross, said: “Year after year we see rising numbers of unwanted and abandoned kittens which need a lot of care in our Centres and Hospitals. Many of these kittens can need round the clock care which puts a strain on our resources.
“But it isn’t just these kittens and often the pregnant mothers themselves need urgent care.
“It may be hard to share a home with cats who are desperate to get out and roam, but many male cats get hit by cars as they desperately try to reach a neighbourhood female and litters of kittens can face an uncertain future when born outside. So, cat owners, please show some tough love – it’s the best thing you can do for them.”
Joanna Lumley – who lives with her two cats, Fleur and Pingu – said: “Adorable kittens taken on during lockdown will soon become typical adolescents who will be wanting to get out there and party.
“Their teenage hormones will also be in overdrive and that’s why the Blue Cross ‘Sex Edu-Cat-ion’ campaign is a brilliant idea to prevent young cats having unplanned pregnancies and unwanted litters being born without homes to go to.”
Anyone needing any advice on how to deal with the behaviours when keeping cats inside should call the Behaviour Line on 0300 790 9903 for a no-judgement conversation or visit www.bluecross.org.uk/contact-us