Help to avert stray cat crisis

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A “kitten boom” is to cause a crisis for animal rehoming organisations this summer, a leading animal charity has warned.

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, female cats, whose heat cycles are triggered by daylight hours, come into oestrus, also known as season.

Cats as young as four months will be affected by this which will make them more receptive to being mated.

An estimated 850,000 kittens are born in the UK each year. Many of these in the spring and, readers may be surprised to hear, that more than two million cats in this country are running wild. This has led to spring being labelled the “kitten season.”

And today leading animal charity Support Adoption For Pets issued a warning about the knock-on effect that kitten season will have on animal re-homing centres if cat owners choose not to neuter their pets.

Amy Wilson, charity manager at Support Adoptions For Pets that has provided financial aid to over 1,000 UK animal re-homing centres, said: “The crisis facing rehoming centres due to kitten season starts now, with many of our parters expecting a significant increase in the number of abandoned kittens.

“It is crucial that cat owners neuter their cats as soon as they are old enough, which is around four months.

“Now the evenings are lighter, cats will roam for longer and venture further away all in search of a mate and it’s highly likely it will return pregnant during spring if not neutered.”

A cat’s short reproduction cycle causes further concern. With a pregnancy only lasting for nine weeks, a female will come back into season just six weeks after giving birth.

And cats can have litters of up to nine kittens at one time.

They are polyestrus, that means they will have more than one heat cycle in a year. Signs of oestrus include the pet’s becoming extra affectionate towards people and other cats, rubbing against their legs, or weaving in and out between their legs or rolling on the floor.