The start of British summertime brings with it light nights, happier moods and the hope of sunshine, yet for cats and kittens it can be a miserable time.
Cats can breed all year round, but unfortunately it increases greatly during the spring and summer.
Help is available for pets
Veterinary nurse, Rebecca Schofield, at Rescue Me animal sanctaury in Melling, said: “There isn’t really a specific season any more as it is happening all year, but we are definitely seeing an increase now.”
Her biggest piece of advice for dealing with unwanted/abandoned cats and kittens is to spay and neuter and Rescue Me currently run a spay and neuter scheme open to anybody.
She said: “We set up the scheme as a result of the covid pandemic as vets were becoming increasingly short staffed and over worked.
“More people were relinquishing their pets during this period so we wanted to give something to the community.”
Please don’t give up on your pet
There are many cheap neutering services open to those on means tested benefits, but the Rescue Me scheme is open to anybody, no matter what their job or income.
Miss Schofield said: “It isn’t a one-size fits all scheme, the prices vary depending on the person’s salary and the situation.”
Despite this scheme, rescue centres are still seeing a massive increase in cats and kittens.
Elara Nicholson, Volunteer at Silth’s Sanctuary said: “We are currently seeing a lot of requests to help out with pregnant mum’s as kitten season is upon us.
“Unfortunately this means that a lot of rescues are running out of space so we have created a flier with details for Rescue Me and Cats Protection, which helps with the cost of neutering.
“This is amazing as it prevents unwanted cats and kittens and gives rescue centres more space to help cats on the street who need help.”
Miss Nicholson’s colleague, Heather Baker gave advice about the importance of microchipping and fostering cats.
She said: “By microchipping cats, we can get an idea if they have been lost or abandoned. One cat accidentally travelled to Liverpool from Birmingham and his family were definitely looking for him. Due to his microchip we could reunite them.”
However, not all cats are so lucky as Miss Baker spoke about her current foster, Feyre: “She was being fed by an elderly lady but was very dirty. She wasn’t chipped but is very friendly so we think that she was abandoned.”
Feyre was lucky to be rescued as she was soon hospitalised after becoming seriously ill from eating something rubber on the streets.
Miss Baker said: “She is doing well now and looking for her forever home, but I can’t stress enough the importance of neutering and microchipping. Us fosters don’t have enough space and it isn’t getting any better.
And Steph Taylor, founder of Rescue Me, echoes this.
She said: “We are dreading kitten season this year. There was reduced neutering during Covid and rescues are now picking up the pieces.
From June 2024 it will be compulsory for cat owners to have their pets microchipped before they are four months old.
It is also hoped that a law will be passed to ensure that drivers have to stop if they hit a cat with their car.