Why are there so many cats?
At this time of year you don’t have to look very hard to find a Kittens! Free To Good Home notice.
With spring and summer comes a rush of kittens which sees mums and litters dropped off at shelters with heartbreaking frequency. Some shelters receive over 400 kittens a week during these peak times.
But why? Well, cats are very good at breeding. They can get pregnant from around 4 months old and can have two litters a year of 4-6 kittens. It’s not hard to see how quickly numbers add up!
Also, since most of these mum cats are themselves 'orphans' (strays who've never had a real owner) they are missed by desexing campaigns and often have aÂ couple ofÂ litters before they finally wind up at the shelter. So the cat population stays pretty much the same every single year and shelters kill hundreds of thousands of kittens annually.
Cat desexing is obviously the answer to less litters, but as cat lovers we need to go even further than just desexing our own cats. We need to take care of the orphan cats in the community who have no real family. We need to keep them from becoming young mums. We need to care for our Community Cats!
Consider this: there’s an estimated 500,000 orphan cats in Victoria alone. That's an awful lot breeding and breeding each year. But there are also five million people in Victoria and anotherÂ five and half million peopleÂ Â in New South Wales – if everyone who loved cats desexed one 'extra', as well as their own, we'd be well on our way to no breeding cats. Imagine how great that would be! A year where hardly any new kittens were born and there was none killedÂ at the pound.
The reason desexing our Community Cats works is because each of theseÂ cat orphans has a 'territory' that it protects from other cats. If you happen to feed your orphan, or if it can find shelter on your property,Â it will fight even harder to keep its 'home' safe from other cat intruders.Â By contrast, if you remove this cat and take it to a shelter, it will be quickly replaced by another undesexed cat. The official name for this kind of desexing is 'Trap, Neuter and Return', and it's how they’ve started to manage the cat populations in other countries like the US, UK and New Zealand, with great success.
That’s why we're asking you to make 2009 the year you desex your Community Cat. It doesn't matter if it's the local stray or the cat you occasionally feed. What's important is that you've desexed this orphan. It's a slightly different kind of donation to what animal rescue normally request, but it's a seriously important one that will make an enormous difference!
Need help desexing your community cat? Contact the National Desexing Network for assistance.Â
And if you do desex an orphan, be sure to let us know so we can make you an official member of our Community Cats Club!