A cat adoption centre in Haywards Heath is in crisis as the rapidly growing number of cute kittens are filling pens and drawing attention away from older cats who need rehoming.
The influx of kittens at Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre has sparked a pen blocking crisis with dozens of older cats waiting for a new home being overlooked.
Staff at charity’s centre in Chelwood Gate say the cat breeding season has seen it take in large numbers of kittens, putting a huge strain on resources.
Manager Danielle Draper said: “We always brace ourselves for this time of year, as we know it will get busy once female cats start having litters of kittens. Sadly this year seems to be no better than previous years.
“The problem is we have so many kittens and people would prefer to adopt them. It means the older cats are not being homed, and while they are perfectly ready to go to a new home, they end up taking up a pen for a long time.
“We have run out of space in our public rehoming wings, so we’re opening up our admissions wings to the public. It’s not ideal, as these are working areas, but we have to do whatever it takes to deal with the high number of cats we have.”
And with a waiting list of six-weeks running for cats waiting to come into the centre, the situation looks set to get worse over the summer.
The centre currently has 56 kittens in its care, but the 22 aged 12 and older are most overlooked.
Danielle added: “We have some space in our maternity wing for kittens, but there is currently a six week waiting list for cats coming to us.
“Kittens are clearly very cute, playful and endearing, but we have a great number of really lovely, sweet-natured adult cats and it’s heartbreaking to see them passed by.
“There are a great number of benefits to adopting an adult cat, mainly because their characters are fully-formed, you’ll get an accurate idea of how well they’ll fit in with your life and family.”
One female can have up to 18 kittens a year with the summer months being the busiest time for new litters.
Though they are struggling to find space, the centre will keep all cats until they have found new homes.
Cats Protection promotes neutering as the most effective way of reducing the number of unwanted kittens and recommends all cats are neutered from around four-months-old.
Older cats (pictured) struggling to find a new home were described by the centre.
Rita, a 12-year-old tabby, was handed in as a stray in June, but given her sweet and gentle nature it is thought she must have once had a home.
She enjoys being fussed and groomed.
Tippy, 16, has been at the centre for seven months after his owner died.
he is described as quiet and friendly, enjoying being stroked or curling up for a snooze, suited to a peaceful home where he can live out his twilight years.
Mel, 16, has also been at the centre for seven months after his owner passed away.
The centre say he is a charming, sweet and gentle cat that would like a calm home.
Twelve-year-old Dusty has been at the centre for six months after he was handed in as a stray. They describe him as a quiet, undemanding cat who enjoys having his head scratched and still enjoys playing. He would need a home with a garden and without other pets or children.