SPCA sees surge in unwanted cats

Face shot of cat licking lips with bright green eyes

The SPCA is urging cat owners to de-sex their pets as part of an ongoing battle to reduce the number of stray cats in New Zealand.

The number of unwanted cats and kittens over the Christmas period has left one SPCA full to the brim.

Every summer, litter upon litter of kittens pour into SPCA clinics across the country, and this year's no exception.

Over the past month an Auckland clinic has been flooded with the furry friends, receiving as many 30 to 80 a day.

"At the moment we've got 450 foster families and each foster family has one or a whole litter of kittens, so it's probably up around the 600 mark at the moment," says SPCA Auckland CEO Angela Midgen.

Cats breed from as young as six months and can have up to three litters a year. And with each litter containing between two to four kittens the SPCA says if you find one take it in to your nearest animal shelter.

"This problem of cats being dumped and kittens in litters in parks and boxes and at the end of our driveway and things like that, that would go away if people were responsible and actually had their cat de-sexed," says Ms Midgen.

With an estimated 20,000 colonies in Auckland alone, animal shelters simply can't find enough homes to house the kittens.

With the added problem of cats preying on up to 33 million birds and animals each year, there are ongoing calls for the Government to control cat management.

"If we have owned cats that are de-sexed and micro-chipped then we won't have the impacts that we're seeing at the moment," says NZVA Veterinary Services head Dr Callum Irvine.

It's a sentiment that's being echoed on by the busy SPCA workers.

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