NSW RSPCA warns of kitten boom this season

NSW shelters are struggling to cope with this kitten season as the national population of cats needing homes surges to more than 18,000.

According to the RSPCA, feline intake has increased by 400 per cent with homeless litters – often a result of owners not desexing their cats or letting them roam freely outside – pushing NSW shelters to breaking point.

The RSPCA says just one pair of undesexed cats can lead to more than 20,000 kittens in just two years.

“With so many kittens coming through our doors, our resources and staff are stretched to their limits,” the organisation said.

The RSPCA said 34 per cent of cats and kittens were surrendered by owners saying they had “too many animals to care for”, and 3000 were surrendered from the homes they were born into.

The current increase has prompted an awareness drive to promote adoption, desexing, and other car ownership practices which may help the dire situation facing shelters.

“The reason is that as the weather warms up and the day length increases, cats start to breed and kittens are born,” RSPCA NSW chief vet, Dr Liz Arnott told news.com.au.

“Shelters like RSPCA see a really rapid increase in kittens being surrendered.”

Dr Arnott said most cats can breed from as young as four months old.

She said most people need not breed kittens of their own as there is a large number up for adoption.

“If you want a kitten, come and get one that’s unwanted,” she said.

Microchipping kittens, having them desexed and containing them within your property is also essential to help curb the booming number of cats in shelters and on the streets.

Only 10 per cent of cats show up at RSPCA shelters microchipped, and just another ten per cent have a collar or tag, making it near-impossible for the organisation to locate the cat’s family.

Another way people can help is to put their hands up to become foster carers.

Dr Arnott also encouraged people to become a Guardian Angel and donate to the RSPCA.

Kitten season generally runs from spring through to autumn each year.

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