RSPCA chiefs have made a desperate appeal to animal lovers in the Ripley and Heanor area to help it find homes for dozens of cats and kittens that it is struggling to cope with.
The animal shelter in Derby is fit to bursting with cats and staff there need Ripley & Heanor News readers to consider if they could offer a loving home to an unwanted pet.
RSPCA inspectors also appealed to current owners to get their pets neutered to stop the influx of unwanted kittens.
The number of cats coming into centres across the United Kingdom over the last several years have increased dramatically leaving little space for them in rescue centres like the Derby one in Abbey Street.
It costs the charity-funded RSPCA millions of pounds to care for unwanted cats, including in boarding fees as they often have no choice other than to put many cats into private care as shelters run out of space.
Leanne Manchester, communications and volunteer manager at Derby said it was a constant struggle.
She said: “Already this year we have had 119 adult cats and 59 kittens brought into our centre.
“Without foster homes we just wouldn’t have been able to cope with this number.
“Every year this problem just escalates as there aren’t enough neutered cats out there. We have female cats as young as around nine months who are pregnant and staying in foster homes.
“It really is growing into a big problem because there aren’t enough homes out there for all of them. The average size of a litter is around three to four kittens but some female cats have up to seven kittens. If all of those kittens then give birth to several kittens each, you can easily imagine how it escalates.
“As we have so many kittens to rehome, we’re now struggling to rehome our adult cats. Everybody wants to adopt kittens, which is great because they do need loving homes, but it means their mothers and the other adult cats in our care are here for far longer during kitten season. That also means all our cat pods are full and we are unable to take in any more cats.
“It’s not just our rescue centre. Every other rescue suffers the same problem at this time of the year.
“As well as helping to stop over-population there are so many reasons why neutering is the best thing for your cat, as it reduces or eliminates the risk of some diseases, reduces the likelihood of your cat wandering and allows cats to live more harmoniously around others.” In a bid help combat the cat crisis, the RSPCA is selling low-cost neutering vouchers at the Abbey Street centre until July 7 in conjunction with Blagreaves Veterinary Centre. Prices are £22 for male cat, including a and microchip, and £28 for a female with a microchip.
If you think you can give an unwanted cat a loving home call the centre on 01332 344620.
For more information on how you can help combat the cat crisis visit the RSCPA’s website www.rspca.org.uk.