Cats pouring in to animal shelter

JOHANNA CLELAND
Last updated 12:00 10/01/2014
kittens
GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ

KITTEN SEASON: The Palmerston North SPCA has received an influx of kittens since Christmas.

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Summer is proving to be the busiest time for the Palmerston North SPCA, with cat breeding well and truly in season.

From November through to late April, the shelter is inundated with cats and kittens.

It's no different this year, with more than 50 arriving on average each week, depending on the size of the litters.

The Palmerston North shelter currently has more than 100 cats and kittens on its books, and more than half of those are in foster homes until they are ready to be adopted.

Most kittens are ready at 8 or 9 weeks old.

Before that they can be at the shelter for quite a few weeks, depending on how old they are when they arrive.

Each kitten that comes through the SPCA doors is treated for fleas, de-sexed, chipped and wormed before it's ready to go.

Of the 40 at the shelter, 12 adult cats and eight kittens are ready for adoption, and another eight will be ready next Monday.

However, manager Danny Auger said there was no time limit on how long animals were kept for.

The longest stay was a cat for more than seven months.

"If a cat or a dog is happy where they are, then we will keep it until it's able to be re-homed," Mr Auger said.

The Palmerston North SPCA also has a great network with other SPCAs, which helps them move some of the less popular animals.

"The only other thing we sometimes do is that if animals have been here a little bit long, particularly dogs, we'll transfer them to another SPCA.

"Or we'll swap an animal with another SPCA that's been struggling to move it in their area."

Mr Auger said there had been a big turnaround over the holiday period.

"We've actually been really pleased with the way adoptions have been going," he said.

The shelter adopted out six kittens yesterday.

He said the SPCA had also been moving some of the adult cats as well, which was good for this time of year when people often forgot about them.

The cost to adopt a kitten is $150 and an adult cat is $130.

The price is a lot lower than the cost of getting a free one from somewhere else and paying for all its vaccinations.

Mr Auger also said this year, unusually, the SPCA had quite a few rabbits as well.

He did not know where they had come from, just that people had found them wandering down the street and in their gardens.

There were three at the shelter, with another three coming in next week.

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