Now is the time to adopt a kitten, animal welfare organisations say, as shelters around the state struggle to keep up with an influx of cats and kittens.
Around 140 cats and kittens are currently in the care of the Ballarat Animal Shelter. Around 65 are available for adoption.
Kitten season runs from October through the warmer months, meaning more kittens needing care will continue arriving for the next three months.
Feeding stray cats is great thinking you are helping them, but if you are not going to proceed and take ownership and desex them then this will continue to happen year after year.Kathryn Doroshenko-Pempel, Ballarat Animal Shelter
Ballarat Animal Shelter manager Kathryn Doroshenko-Pempel said the shelter was looking for people to adopt cats and had put a call out for foster carers.
“As much as we work very hard to get them out the door to adoption and foster, we have to deal with the reality there are just as many going to come in the front door again,” she said.
“We see it every year because we haven’t made a big enough dent in the de-sexed population of cats. People are still not understanding that they need to do something about stray cats and responsible pet ownership, and have them sterilized.
“Feeding stray cats is great thinking you are helping them, but if you are not going to proceed and take ownership and desex them then this will continue to happen year after year.”
The large number of cats and kittens needing care is pushing RSPCA facilities across the state over capacity, increasing the pressure on animals, staff and resources.
RSPCA Victoria currently has more than 1400 cats and kittens in its care.
The organisation is waiving the adoption fee for adult cats, in a desperate effort to find as many cats and kittens as possible a home in the coming weeks.
RSPCA data shows the intake of cats and kittens has increased dramatically during the kitten season.
The organisation took in 531 cats and kittens in September 2018 and 1199 in December 2018.
Ms Doroshenko-Pempel said while more needs to be done to encourage the de-sexing of cats, educating on the importance of confining cats will be the shelter’s next drive.
“We will be here for many years talking about this unfortunately,” she said.
“I think it will be about ten years before we see change and that is when compulsory confinement of cats will probably take another leap in state government legislation.”
The Ballarat Animal Shelter can care for up to 200 cats until it reaches capacity.