Cat crisis: More animals find home as adoption fee drops
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
An SPCA adoption drive has given homes to 775 animals during a national cat crisis.
Bruce Wills, SPCA area manager in Napier and Hastings, says the recent explosion in the kitten population is the most severe he has witnessed in decades.
However, he said the recent 50 per cent offer campaign discount on adoption fees nationwide was a success, especially in the Hawke’s Bay region.
In the week leading up to June 2, adopting a cat cost only $40-$60.
“We had a total of 74 animals adopted. Nationally, 775 animals were adopted during the campaign which was an amazing result.”
Within the past six months, more than 11,000 kittens came into SPCA care throughout New Zealand — an average of 2.5 kittens every hour, or 61 kittens a day.
“We were able to get a vast number of animals into their forever homes, meaning our centres can now make space for more animals to come in,” Wills said.
In April, 2585 animals arrived, but only 1823 adopted.
Recently, Hastings had 520 arrivals, and Napier had 392.
Wills says the sudden increase in the number of kittens is due to a few factors.
“The lack of desexing, combined with warmer weather, means breeding goes on longer than it used to.
“Cost of living is also a factor, meaning pets and their needs get bumped further down the priority list.”
He says numbers offer only limited insight. Each cat and kitten in these shelters has a unique backstory that should be considered.
Wills has seen kittens needing eyes removed due to chronic cat flu.
“We also cared for a three-month-old kitten who was pregnant, to [also] watching an incredible mother who, after raising her own litter, raised a further two litters with her own milk and socialised another litter before they were put up for adoption.”
Wills says desexing is a solution.
“Other animal rescues and shelters across the Hawke’s Bay region are also experiencing the same animal influx that we’re seeing.
“Desexing is the answer to lowering numbers of kittens across Hawke’s Bay and the rest of the country.”
He says the SPCA’s decision to euthanise kittens depends on the severity of their illness or injury, and is a last resort.
“Euthanising an animal requires a decision made by a panel of vets and SPCA staff.
“Euthanasia is usually required when the animal has a serious illness which is unable to be cured, a catastrophic injury which will cause ongoing suffering and distress, or has severe behavioural issues where it would be unsafe to place the animal into a home.”
Wills says adoption is “incredibly important”.
“Not only are you giving an animal a second chance at life, you’re also bringing someone incredibly special into your life to be part of your family.
“There are so many animals out there who are waiting for their forever homes, and we love being able to be part of that journey.”
Hero Image: Bruce Wills, SPCA area manager in Napier and Hastings, pictured during an earlier SPCA campaign. Photo / Paul Taylor