WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – A pair of three-week-old kittens abandoned by the Hutt River would not have lasted long, Wellington SPCA senior inspector Ben Lakomy says.
The black and white kittens were wrapped in a blanket and simply left on the riverbank. A man who found them took them to The Pet Centre in Lower Hutt, where staff alerted the SPCA.
“The kittens were lucky they were found in the morning,” Lakomy said. “With no water or food they probably wouldn’t have survived the day.”
Lakomy said in the vast majority of cases, owners make some kind of arrangement with the SPCA when they can’t properly care for a litter of kittens or puppies.
“But too often we’re having to deal with kittens that have just been abandoned.”
The kittens left on the riverbank have been taken to Wellington SPCA where they will undergo a health check and be de-sexed and microchipped. They will then join the ranks of scores of other kittens who are currently up for adoption to good homes.
The past summer kitten season was a very busy time for Wellington SPCA, Lakomy said.
“We have lots of vulnerable kittens coming through our doors. Right now we are caring for over 200 kittens and 94 cats. Many [are] available for adoption.”
Wellington SPCA is the only animal welfare charity in the region approved under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to use its Inspectors to investigate animal abuse and neglect, which includes abandonment.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Glassey said if anyone in the community has information relating to the alleged dumping on the kittens at Avalon, they shouldn’t hesitate to contact SPCA’s call centre on 389 8044.
“Deserting an animal is an offence under law that carries penalties of up to 12 months imprisonment or a fine up to $50,000, or both”.
Lower Hutt-based animal charity, Kitten Inn is also grappling with scores of kittens and cats which need new responsible new owners.
Susan McNair, who has run The Kitten Inn from her home at 247 Major Drive in Kelson for about 17 years, said she and dozens of foster carers were looking after around 250 kittens and 30 female cats in the first week of December.
Just before the end of the month the kitten tally had climbed to nearly 300, McNair said yesterday.
It was only thanks to good re-homing rates they were staying on top of things. Last week 31 de-sexed and microchipped kittens were taken away by new owners, and 19 in the previous week.
McNair said some people just didn’t respect the need to de-sex cats.
This morning a mother cat and five kittens were also handed to the inn.
“The kittens are already quite big and I suspect the mother is pregnant again.”
“A mother cat can still be looking after kittens when it can come into heat again. People just don’t realise.”
The Kitten Inn has also handled plenty of dumped and abandoned cats. Last October some teenagers rescued a two-week old kitten that was floating down Hutt River on a log and walked up the hill to the Kelson rescue centre.