Kristin Shorten From: The Courier-Mail December 06, 2010
THEY are affectionate and adorable, yet more than 15,000 cats and kittens have been dumped at animal shelters in the past year.
RSPCA Queensland spokeswoman Anna Hartley said November had marked the start of cat-breeding season and shelters across the state were now buckling under the weight of a ”kitten tsunami”.
”Cat over-population is definitely one of our biggest issues,” she said. ”Cats can breed as young as three or four months old, people simply aren’t aware of that.
”We do find people coming in with litters of kittens and they’re not just bringing in one or two, they’re bringing in five or six.
”It’s one of those things that are so easily preventable by simply desexing your cat.”
Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge volunteer Robyn Kindermann said the cattery at the Sippy Creek shelter had reached capacity and its waiting list for pet owners wanting to surrender their felines would take at least three months to process.
While Bundaberg RSPCA shelter manager Vicki Beer said the ”ridiculous” number of unwanted animals that had passed through the organisation’s doors last month, mostly kittens, was a ”nightmare”.
”We’re just getting hammered in Bundy at this time of year, it’s absolutely horrible,” she said.
”We really need people to come in and buy animals but, then again, we want them to really think about it.
”For 15 years you will have a dog or cat it’s a really serious commitment, so have a good think.”
An alarming trend to emerge echoed across the state as a contributor to the pre-Christmas explosion in unwanted pets was owners abandoning pets to take off on holidays.
”We don’t get that rush after Christmas, it’s before Christmas,” Ms Beer said.
Gympie RSPCA volunteer Karen Tierney said dogs were the pet most commonly surrendered before the silly season.
She said some owners pretended animals being surrendered were strays.
”It does happen but (owners) don’t usually say (a holiday is) the reason,” she said. ”It would be cheaper than boarding (kennels) for a few weeks, but there’s that big risk that the dog will already have been adopted or – worst case scenario – put to sleep (before the owner returned to reclaim it).”
The RSPCA said about 70 per cent of cats and kittens dropped at shelters were claimed to be strays, while 30 per cent were ”owner surrenders”.