Paws and reflect before giving kittens as Christmas gifts this year
December 3, 2006
URL to the story: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/paws-and-reflect-before-giving-kittens-as-christmas-gifts-this-year/2006/12/02/1164777846865.html
THEY may be cute and adorable, but these kittens face the same tragic future as hundreds of unwanted cats dumped in Sydney during summer.
The Cat Protection Society of NSW receives an influx of kittens between October and March, the warmer months of the year when cats tend to breed.
Much of this was because of uneducated owners, unaware that cats as young as five months old could become pregnant, society chief executive Kristina Vesk said.
Cats tend to give birth to litters of three or four.
The shelter is already full this year, with 141 animals in its cattery and farmed out to temporary foster-care homes. That includes 98 kittens.
The charity has been forced to put down a number of cats because it receives more each day than it can find homes for.
There were hundreds of others that were not being taken to shelters and left to survive in the wild or die, Ms Vesk said.
Last week, a woman brought in a cat that she had bought at a pet shop, but had not had desexed.
The cat soon had four kittens and the owner decided she did not want the mother or the litter.
"We're not talking about last season's lipstick shade; these are five living creatures," Ms Vesk said.
"Don't leave it too late, thinking, 'I'll just wait until it gets a bit older.' Before you know it, that cat can have kittens."
She urged people to think carefully before making the commitment to adopt or buy a kitten, particularly as a Christmas gift.
"A kitten is not a toy. It's an animal that needs ongoing care and nurturing. It's a long-term relationship - up to 20 years."
Cats should be desexed when they are between eight and 12 weeks old, microchipped, treated for fleas and worms, vaccinated and regularly checked for parasites.
Owners should ensure their cats do not roam at night because they are a threat to wildlife.
Source: The Sun-Herald