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Cats in Crisis

PUBLISHED: 10:54 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:54 23 August 2010

AN INCREASE in dumped cats has led to fears that healthy cats will have to be put down as rescue centres hit critical levels. A cat rescue worker from north Kent is so alarmed at the plight of cats that she contacted the Reporter anonymously to highlight

AN INCREASE in dumped cats has led to fears that healthy cats will have to be put down as rescue centres hit critical levels.

A cat rescue worker from north Kent is so alarmed at the plight of cats that she contacted the Reporter anonymously to highlight what she called a "desperately serious situation."

She said: "All the cat rescue centres are at saturation point. We are all extremely worried about what's going to happen.

"People are being so stupid and irresponsible. I had a call from a mother who said she wanted to get rid of three kittens because her children don't want to play with them anymore.

"Cats aged three or four are being allowed to have litters. Some owners don't realise that cats can have litters aged as young as six months.

"The situation has to be stemmed because there is nowhere for these poor animals to go.

"I am terrified that it is heading down the route of cats having to be put down. It's a desperately serious situation and something has to be done about their plight."

The RSPCA's two main sites serving the Kent region, Leybourne Centre in West Malling and the East Kent Animal Centre in Thanet are at maximum capacity.

West Kingsdown branch of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home said that levels were not yet critical but the situation could change in just three months.

An RSPCA Kent branch spokeswoman said: "All our animal centres are full. People are still allowing their cats to breed and are not getting them neutered.

"It is a difficult and worrying situation but we are not at a point where we will put down healthy cats. We desperately need people to come forward and consider adopting them."

Charity Cats Protection re-homes over 50,000 cats and kittens every year and has two branches serving the Bexley, Dartford, Swanley and Gravesham areas.

Regional Development Manager Christine Harvey said: "Summer is kitten season so centres can struggle with space when they take in pregnant cats.

"We offer a scheme where people on low incomes can get their cat neutered at very low cost. People interested in homing a kitten or cat can call us and we will arrange a home visit to find a suitable match. We don't charge, families can just make a donation if they can afford it."

For advice contact the Cats Protection helpline on 08702 099099.

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