SPCA New Zealand

First SPCA litter signals ‘kitten season’ has arrived

01 September 2020
First SPCA litter signals ‘kitten season’ has arrived

SPCA Mangere Centre has welcomed the charity’s first litter of kittens, indicating the 2020 ‘kitten season’ has officially arrived.

The warmer months are SPCA’s busiest as cats continue to breed and vulnerable cats and kittens end up at SPCA needing help. The incoming animals stretch resources at SPCA shelters to the limit. The litter of two males were born to a stray queen who was taken in by a member of the public and subsequently gave birth in a laundry room.

Last year more than 27,131 kittens and cats arrived at SPCA centres in need of help. At the height of kitten season, SPCA’s largest centre in Mangere can see up to 400 cats and kittens needing foster homes.

A female kitten can fall pregnant at just 16-20 weeks old and can have 12 kittens in one year on average. If the cycle continues and her offspring reproduces, 2107 kittens would be born over a period of four years.

SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says that ‘kitten season’ usually runs from spring with the peak in summer and often lasts right into June. Kittens make up 75 percent of all animals brought into centres.

“Kitten season places a huge strain on our centres, resources and staff with so many animals being born. We rely heavily on our volunteers and foster families who help us care for so many animals through this time,” she says.

Before a kitten can be adopted at eight weeks old, they require round-the-clock care, veterinary treatment, and somewhere warm to eat, sleep, and be monitored. Many of the kittens that arrive to SPCA have been abandoned, neglected, are desperately sick, or very young.

Every animal adopted from SPCA will be desexed, which helps prevent unwanted litters being born into a lifetime of struggle and suffering. SPCA strongly encourages pet owners to get their pets desexed as soon as they are able to prevent more unwanted litters.

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