Breeding like cats…

South Gippsland Sentinel Times, Tuesday, 28 December 2010

TWO weeks ago, a tiny little kitten was handed in to Paws Galore, South Gippsland Animal Aid’s opportunity shop in Wonthaggi.

With its eyes barely open, the kitten, along with another sibling had been dumped at the side of the road.

The sibling, which was the stronger, managed to escape its box but was run over.

The surviving runt, which was subsequently named Lucky’, was transferred to Leongatha to cat carer and volunteer, Heather Bentvelzen, Fitting with its Ilarne. Lucky’ was welcomed into the ranks with the other kittens Heather cares for, and amazingly, adopted by two feeding adult female cats.

Lucky’ is now growing strongly and is starting to play with the other kittens.

Lucky’ will stay with Heather until he is desexed, wormed, vaccinated, microchipped and found a loving home.

Heather says dumped kittens are a common occurrence. especially now the cat breeding time has been extended with the favourable weather.

“Since March last year we’ve had about 230 cats and kittens come through,’ she said.

“So for the past four years I’ve been a volunteer, we’d have had in excess of 400.” Heather says this is in part due to kittens reaching sexual maturity at six months old, and a now year-round breeding cycle.

However, it’s at this time of year Heather says she is parucularly busy with litters that are either dumped, handed in or rescued, The South Gtppsland Animal Aid has a strict no-kifi policy and each cat and kitten must be found a loving permanent home.

Heather said ii can be cliflicult parting with the kittens and cats she has cared for, particularly those she has hand fed.

“In the beginning we used to give them all names, but when people would take them home they’d change the names.

“It’s hard to part with them, but it’s getting easier.” Each kitten costs $80 and that covers the volunteers’ costs for food, lleaing, kitly litter, worming, desedng. vaccinations and microchippiiig.

“Sometimes its a struggle to find the money to pay for everything],” Heather says.

“Perhaps we’re not charging enough. but if we do that, we wouldn’t be able to fInd homes for the animals.

Sure, you could get a cat from a next door neighbour for free, but there are a lot of costs that come with that, like $200 to desex, fleaing. worming and vaccinations.

When you get a cat from us. all you need to do is get the second vaccination.

“Often if I see an ad for kittens I’ll ring up and take them all.

“l’hat way I know I he~1l he desexed and I won’t have to deal with their offspring six months later.” To adopt a cat, call South Gippsland Animal Aid oii 5681 2290 hut be warned; adopting an animal is for lift’.

“People have got to realise that kittens grow up to be cats and adopting one is for life up to 15 to 20 years.’ heather said.

“We don’t want to put people off as cats make wonderful companions, but just be prepared to make theni part of your family.”

Caption Text:
This little tortoise shell kitten is looking for a loving permanent home. Currently, she is staying with South Gippsland Animal Aid volunteer Heather Bentvelzen.
The Animal Aid volunteer has many other kittens and two adult female cats that need to be rehomed.

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