© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

SPCA backlog of kittens – a CATastrophe

Claudia Toxopeus
Kittens wait for their forever home  SPCA

It is not a purr-fect situation.

SPCAs across the country are facing what they call the largest ever waitlist for adoptable cats and kittens.

In Auckland, there are more than 400 furry felines waiting for acceptance into the centre for urgent veterinary care, including de-sexing, de-worming, vaccinations, and flea treatment. All before they can find a place to call home.

In the last month alone, 283 kittens came through their doors in desperate need of care.

But the issue is not exclusive to Auckland.

When Christchurch went into lockdown last year, the clinic was only able to accept sick or injured animals, meaning seemingly healthy stray cats were unable to be taken in.

Combined with a longer than usual kitten breeding season and a drop-off in the number of adoptions, the centre’s resources are wearing thin.

Cheryl Halverson, SPCA education coordinator said despite this, the team did its best to provide other means of care for the best outcome of the animal.

“We’re used to being pushed to the limit during kitten season, but not like this. This has been the worst season."

SPCA chief eExecutive Andrea Midgen agreed - catteries are filled to the brim. 

She said the extended kitten season stems from warmer temperatures.

Cat lover, Maxie Del, adopted her three kittens, Rascal, Socks, and Danny, from the Ōtautahi centre.

She said they bring “tremendous joy” into her life.

“Their original owners couldn’t look after them anymore. It’s sad, but a blessing in disguise for me. When I saw them my heart melted.”

She feels good knowing she is making a difference in the lives of her beloved pets.

Halverson wants more people to follow in her footsteps.

She said education was the best tool to achieving this.

“Learning about companion animal overpopulation and the importance of desexing companion animals is a vital first step in helping to reduce the number of homeless animals.”

To clear the backlog, SPCA is urging people to check out their local centre.

Midgen is calling for the public’s help, so they can “create more space for other animals who need care”.

“If you’re considering adopting, we have so many wonderful cats and kittens with a wide range of personalities, colours, and traits waiting for their forever home.” 

You can learn more here.