Cat crisis: numbers climb in south east

Kittens Boo and Miss Spicy are in need of a fur-ever home. 225988_06

By Mitchell Clarke

The purr-fect time to adopt a furry friend is now, as a south-east animal shelter pleads for help amid a cat “crisis”.

The Lost Dogs’ Home, based in Cranbourne West and North Melbourne, has seen cat intake numbers climbing dramatically by the day.

About 800 cats are currently in care across the two shelters but that number could reach 1000 without “urgent assistance from the public”.

The Homes’ spokesperson, Suzana Talevski, said Covid-19 had contributed to the facility reaching “crisis point”.

“Kitten season has always been a challenge but since Covid lockdowns and restrictions it has become worse,” she explained.

“Nearly all councils suspended their cat trapping programs for most of the lockdowns. This has made the stray cat’s problem even more problematic. Those cats that would normally have been trapped have been breeding, which of course has only added to the already overpopulated problem is some areas, and those litters were also mating as they had time to mature and mate.”

Animal attendant Ella with Soren, a three-year-old male domestic short hair ginger tabby. Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS 225988_05

According to the Home, research has shown that just one pair of entire cats and their offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years.

In a bid to cope with the incoming felines, the shelter’s adoption centre will expand its days of operation and reduce adoption fees from Monday 18 January.

Now, an adult cat, which would usually cost $120, can be picked up for just $25, while a kitten, usually worth $470, can find a home for $235.

But the reminder remains that pets are for life, and only those who can provide a suitable home will be considered.

“During ‘Clear the Cat Shelter’, our thorough adoption process still applies to ensure all pets are matched with committed families who are able to offer a suitable home and lifetime of care. Cats and kittens will stay in our adoptions centre for as long as it takes to find them a home, but we would love for this to happen as soon as possible,’’ Ms Talevski added.

“Managing the population of homeless cats is a constant challenge for shelters and rescue groups across Australia.”

The open-intake shelter, which will never turn away a pet in need, takes in more than 10,000 abandoned and stray cats and kittens every year.

Current cat owners can play a part in the campaign by ensuring their felines are microchipped and desexed.

For more info and details on how to apply: https://dogshome.com/cleartheshelter.

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