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You’ve got to be kitten me

Masterton SPCA has close to 90 kittens looking for foster carers and forever homes.

Masterton SPCA centre manager Rebecca Johnston said the centre had 88 kittens yesterday morning, but expected the number to have increased by the end of the day.

“We had three dropped off this morning, and 10 yesterday.”

She said many of the kittens were coming from unsocial, rather than feral, cats taking shelter on local farms.

Now, the SPCA is calling for foster carers for the kittens, and adopters for others that were ready for their forever homes.

Johnston said the number of kittens being dropped in was normal for this time of year, although she wished it was not the case.

“It is sad. You get very good at playing Tetris and very good at moving them through.”

She said the process was often to move the kittens to foster homes before they came back to the centre for permanent adoption.

She said people adopting cats and kittens created space for more to come into the centre.

“It does get to the point sometimes where we’ve got cats or kittens everywhere.”

Johnston said the centre needed more people to foster felines.

She said fosterers would be provided everything necessary to care for the kittens, and could have them for as long as possible.

“Even if it’s just a couple of days, it’s helpful.”

Sometimes, fostered kittens turned into permanent pets.

Johnston said December to May was typical ‘kitten season’, when cats would be breeding – and it was also when the onslaught of kittens
dropped to the SPCA began.

She said cats could breed from about four months old and could have up to three litters per season.

“There’s a huge wild cat [population] that are born on rural properties. Because you can’t handle them, you can’t get anywhere near them to desex them.”

Johnston said many cats would turn up on farms because there was a food source or a safe place to give birth.

She said as soon as the kittens were eating food on their own, they should be caught and taken to the SPCA so they could be socialised and turned into pets.

“If they’re left without any human contact until they’re about 10 and 12 weeks old, it’s really hard to make them friendly, and it’s really stressful for them to be contained.”

Application forms for adoption and fostering can be found on the SPCA website under the Masterton tab.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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