SHARE
Success story . . . Jane, the glossy black cat held by SPCA North Otago-South Canterbury inspector Rebecca Sefonte, was at the North Otago shelter for more than a year before being adopted just days after the Oamaru Mail visited. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

Kittens are overflowing the SPCA’s North Otago premises.

Thirty-eight little furry felines are awaiting adoption. That is more than the Torridge St site can handle, so many have been fostered by volunteers. SPCA manager Rachel Van Grunsven has 14 of them at her place.

“Unfortunately, there is always a dramatic upsurge in unwanted kittens in New Zealand at this time of the year,” SPCA Otago animal welfare director and veterinarian Jeff Herkt told the Oamaru Mail

“Cats have a single breeding season, becoming active from around September-October, so kitten numbers increase from December onwards and become high from January to March.

“Breeding queens can be feral cats – that is, cats that were domesticated but are now .. fending for themselves – or domesticated cats. The issue is that an unneutered female cat .. is highly likely to become pregnant,” Dr Herkt said.

“So the answer is to neuter both female and males cats before they become sexually active, which is around 7 months of age.”

Desexing could help the cat’s health, he said.

“Most cats and typically entire male cats have a territory and will engage in fighting to defend/establish a territory.”

Fighting can lead to abscesses that need veterinary treatment and can become life-threatening if they develop into blood poisoning.

It can also spread the cat equivalent of the Aids virus and cause environmental problems including faecal contamination and noise pollution.

“SPCA advocates desexing of all cats unless they are purebred cats .. being bred by responsible breeders,” Dr Herkt said.

“All cats and kittens that enter the SPCA system will be neutered prior to adoption, as well as receiving appropriate vaccines and parasite treatment.”

The North Otago SPCA gives potential adopters information on the nature and requirements of all the cats in its care.