Every spring Goulburn Valley pet rescuers are inundated with stray litters of kittens, with four pregnant cats surrendered recently.
Shepparton Animal Rescue and Rehoming founder Janet Oliver said once the weather starts to warm up cats will come on heat.
“We urge anyone with an undesexed cat to please get them desexed so you don’t end up with an unwanted pregnancy,” Ms Oliver said.
She said research showed that desexed animals live longer and are less likely to get illnesses such as uterine infections and mammary gland cancer.
“They also experience a reduction in behaviour problems like roaming, aggression and urine marking,” Ms Oliver said.
Well aware of the dreaded “kitten season”, the charity worked ahead this year, recruiting new foster carers and rehoming many cats to acquire the much-needed space.
“We already have four pregnant cats in care and foresee that in no time at all we will be bombarded with more requests than we can possibly handle,” Ms Oliver said.
Last week one foster carer woke to the sound of “little squeaks” and was greeted by five newborn kittens.
“The mother only came into care the day before and had shown no sign of labour,” Ms Oliver said.
“Mother is doing well and babies are feeding well.”
A second cat gave birth on Tuesday.
“The mother that gave birth last week is doing such an amazing job with her babies,” Ms Oliver said.
“She’s not fond of her foster carer touching her but with time and patience she will love it in no time.
“This mumma is named Stella.”
Ms Oliver said a kitten's best chance of survival is to stay with the mother.
“If the kittens are alone, mum may be off searching for food or a safer location to move her babies to. It is important to leave the kittens where they are and assess whether mum is returning,” she said.
“If the mother fails to return, contact us immediately. It is very important to leave the kittens at their location unless they are in immediate danger.”
For information about donations, becoming a foster carer or adopting from SARR, visit the Facebook page: Shepparton Animal Rescue and Rehoming.
People unable to offer foster care can donate at SARR donation bins across the region, including at Coles at Shepparton’s Riverside Plaza and at Shepparton Pets Domain.
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