Companion Animal Network Australia (CANA) is calling on owners to desex their cats, consider adoption and support animal welfare charities.

Data consolidated from members of CANA reveals that for YTD February 2024, there is already a 48 per cent increase in cat and kitten surrenders compared to the same time last year.

Trish Ennis, CEO of CANA, said they are seeing a large spike in cats and kittens being relinquished from its member shelters around the country, intensifying the stress they are already experiencing.

“The increase innumbermbers of unwanted kittens is a result of cats breeding all year round due to warmer weather. We are urging people to desex their pets, consider adoption and support animal welfare charities so they can continue to help save lives.”

Ennis said the number of cats and kittens ending up in shelters sends a strong message about the importance of desexing.

“Unwanted litters places significant strain on rescue organisations and shelters, many of which are already operating at full capacity and unable to accommodate all animals in need. The most effective method to curb the overpopulation of stray cats (and dogs) is through desexing.”

CANA members that rescue cats and companion animals are Sydney Dogs and Cats Home (SDCH), Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ), Animal Welfare League South Australia (AWL SA), Saving Animals From Euthanasia Inc (SAFE), and Lort Smith Animal League.

Melissa Penn, Managing Director of SDCH, said the home received 220 kittens between December 2023 and February 2024 – averaging 17 kittens per week.

“Did you know female cats are able to have around 180 kittens in their life, and they can start reproducing from as young as 4 months old? Cat populations get out of control very quickly, and without enough homes wanting to take them, they end up in shelters – if they are lucky!”

Sue Hedley OAM, Founder of SAFE, said it’s devastating for veterinarians, council rangers, SAFE and other animal rescue services to have to euthanise friendly cats.

“As a society, this toll is heavier now than it was when I founded SAFE 21 years ago. If we all take proactive measures, like being vigilant with homeless cats and kittens ensuring they reach rescue services for desexing and rehoming, it is bound to yield a positive impact.

“SAFE Inc is committed to assisting in the desexing of owned female cats as part of our collective effort to tackle the issue of overpopulation.”

Pet adoption is another method of support, as adopting directly helps animal welfare charities by freeing up space to accommodate more animals in need.

“Adopting a pet is also a highly ethical alternative to purchasing one from a pet store or breeder. It is a great way to improve the life of the pet, and owners get to experience the proven benefits of caring for an animal in need,” said Ennis.

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