There is no doubt in my mind that the scourge of the cat ownership world is unplanned kittens. However, sometimes they are planned by which I mean the owner allows a female cat to become pregnant and have kittens because they think a “mother” means that experience to feel whole and happy 😢. Wrong.
However way you look at it, unplanned kittens create problems for citizens, authorities and cats. The problem was highlighted by Donna Hawkins Keil, the Furever Homes founder and chairwoman. This is an animal rescue charity in Southland, Invercargill, New Zealand.
Keil claims that there is an increase in the abandonment of pregnant cats who have kittens in the wild. The kittens are prone to developing serious illnesses such as parvovirus and feline AIDS. They then migrate towards human settlements where they can spread diseases to outside domestic cats.
And here is the clincher: the reason why a pregnant female cat is dumped is because the person who looked after the cat carelessly failed to sterilise her which resulted in the cat becoming pregnant. The owner did not want a pregnant cat on their property because it meant looking after kittens and therefore more expense. The consequence? Abandonment. Throw them away. Get rid of them. This is done anonymously by driving the cat out to a remote place and leaving them behind. It happens in various ways but that is one way.
There’s no thought in the minds of these people that they need to act responsibly because they are inherently irresponsible. That’s why they allow their female cat to become pregnant in the first place. It is the scourge of cat ownership.
Their irresponsible behaviour damages the public profile of domestic cats generally. It encourages people who dislike cats to dislike them more because they hate to see stray cats wandering around the suburbs because they believe that they spread disease.
Furever Homes have a volunteer accountant. On the 20th day of each month, she rings up Keil to tell her that money is short, again! And therefore, the finances of this animal rescue charity are precarious because as usual they are dependent upon donations.
And of course, they have to bear the expense of looking after unwanted kittens. Keil has appealed and I guess continues to appeal to the community to be more diligent in sterilising their cats. And if they get into trouble, they should contact her charity or another one and talk through the problem instead of dumping them.
“We will find a way, we’ll do what we can … [being] in the wild is not good for them, because they pick up all sorts of diseases.”
She also said that in recent months there has been an increase in the amount of semi-wild kittens found in rural areas without their mothers. This, she argues, is an indication that pregnant cats are being dumped. She claims most of these kittens move towards “dairy farms for food”. Some form colonies where they breed. And they pass on diseases to each other.
She cites a rescued colony of 26 cats of which they were only able to save half as several of them tested positive for feline AIDS.
Here is a Facebook post from Furever Homes and a good example:
Keil can predict when there will be an influx of rescue kittens because it happens when the weather becomes warmer. But recently it has got worse because the influxes are continuous. She said “They just keep coming.”
She says she doesn’t know exactly why the cats are being dumped. I think I can help. It is, as argued, because of irresponsible cat ownership. People are drifting, mindlessly into owning a pregnant female cat. Something that was unplanned for. And if you are slightly lazy about cat ownership and this happens you are likely to do something irresponsible such as get rid of the female cat.