A huge influx of nearly 200 kittens this year has put a strain on resources at Cat Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre and left older cats struggling to find a new home.
With ‘kitten season’ – the summer months when female cats generally give birth – drawing to a close, staff at the centre, at Chelwood Gate, say this year has been particularly busy.
Since January, a total of 192 kittens have been cared for at the centre, 35 of which were born there.
The centre is also expecting at least one further litter to be born any day, with more kittens due to be transferred from another Cats Protection branch.
The sheer number of kittens has not only put a strain of resources, it has also had a huge knock-on effect for older cats, which have been overlooked by potential new owners in favour of younger cats.
Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre Manager Danielle Draper said: “There’s been a lot of kittens available, all of which are undeniably cute and playful. They catch people’s eye, and people frequently choose them instead of one of the older cats.
“Summer is really hard for older cats in our care, as they just get overlooked time and time again. It’s such a shame, as they have just as much to give. In fact, adopting an older cat makes a lot of sense, as their personalities are fully formed and you can see exactly how they’d fit into your home.
“Having such a large number of kittens in does place a huge strain on the centre. It’s not just the additional food and veterinary care, it’s the time and individual care they all need. Kittens a lot of socialising if they’re to become friendly adult cats, so our staff need to invest a lot of time in ensuring they are getting all the stimulation they need.”
Danielle said the public can help by ensuring pet cats are neutered, avoiding the chance of them breeding and producing unwanted kittens.
She said: “Cats are prolific breeders and if left unneutered, a female can have 18 kittens a year, all of which can start breeding from around four months old.”
One older cat who found it difficult to find a new owner this year is Tink, who has been at the centre since April.
The 15-year-old white puss is friendly and loves to play, especially when he’s chasing his ball.
He can live with children and dogs, and would make an affectionate family pet.
Danielle said: “Tink is a really lovely friendly, playful and affectionate cat. Under normal circumstances, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t have been chosen, yet he’s been overlooked time and time again. We hope now kitten season is drawing to an end he will catch someone’s eye and find a loving new home.”
Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre is part of a network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres that help around 200,000 cats every year.
To find out more about any of the cats currently available for rehoming at the centre please call 01825 741331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org To find out about cats available for rehoming at the volunteer-run branches throughout Sussex, please visit www.cats.org.uk/find-a-cat
The National Cat Adoption Centre is open every day from 10am until 4pm and is a great free day out for all the family.
As well as meeting some of the 150 cats currently looking for a new home, visitors can enjoy a stroll or picnic in the tranquil nature trail and meet the resident donkeys rehomed from The Donkey Sanctuary.
The centre is situated in Chelwood Gate, on the A275 between Wych Cross and Danehill.
To find it using a SatNav, please use the postcode RH17 7DE, or for a map and directions please visit www.cats.org.uk/find-us/find-the-ncc