Cat crisis prompts SPCA plea

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014

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The SPCA is brimming with homeless cats and kittens and is urging pet owners to take responsibility for their animals.

But a New Plymouth woman trying to re-home a stray cat says the SPCA should have a waiting list for people wanting to do the right thing.

Most of the time the shelter is full to its capacity with stray cats, North Taranaki spokeswoman Jackie Poles-Smith said.

"We take kittens whenever we can but we literally run out of room."

They have space for 60 and at present have 25 adult cats and more than 50 kittens in their care.

"Once we're full we can't take any more until some of those are found homes."

Mrs Poles-Smith said it was pet owners' responsibility to find a home for an animal they no longer wanted.

"It's a long-term commitment if you have a pet."

Sunita Martin was turned away by the SPCA when she brought in a cat which had turned up on her doorstep. Ms Martin rehomed the cat's kittens and is trying to find a home for the mother because she is unable to keep it herself.

She said it would be much easier to just abandon the cat but she loved it.

"She's a gorgeous cat, she'd be perfect for an elderly person.

"We took her to the SPCA but what happens when they're full?

"It's really hard."

She suggested it would be helpful if the SPCA had a waiting list so people with unwanted cats were contacted when space opened up.

Mrs Poles-Smith said the SPCA helped with unwanted animals when they could, but their main priority was preventing cruelty and mistreatment of animals.

People needed to give the SPCA warning if they planned to drop off an unwanted animal, she said.

In the case of stray cats, the SPCA needed the support from the community to care for them until they were able to help.

Feeding cats and taming them so they were able to be handled was helpful for when the SPCA came to collect them, she added.

Mrs Poles-Smith said the North Taranaki SPCA is desperately short of kitten food and donations would be gratefully accepted.

- Yesterday the Daily News reported six weeks was the age kittens could be re-homed, but it is actually eight weeks.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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