Charity braces for kitten boom

Gore Cat Rescue members (left) Emma Phillips, Shona Willis, Squeaky the cat, Chris Willis, Angela McFall and Emma Phillips. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS

A cat-astrophe could be on the horizon as the kitten season continues.

Members of the Gore Cat Rescue charity are worried about effects a surge in spring births could have on the Gore cat population.

Charity member Shona Willis said the number of litters could very easily get out of control.

‘‘It’s just such a growing problem,’’ Mrs Willis said.

‘‘People’s cats are having litters and then [they are] dumping the kittens.

‘‘That’s part of the problem.

‘‘Or they shift and don’t take the cat, then suddenly you’ve got all these wild cats.’’

That cat may then have litters and the numbers would continue to rise.

In August, it was reported that between 8000 and 8560 cats inhabited the Gore district, of which 4000 to 4300 were feral, 3560 were companion cats and 500 to 700 were strays.

This was according to a report by the cat management and control subcommittee of Gore District Council.

The idea for the charity came from the committee, Mrs Willis said.

Charity member Chris Willis said they were realistic about what they could achieve.

‘‘The problem is way bigger than any individual would ever be able to handle.

‘‘Tackling the issue as a community effort, rather than an individual effort, would be beneficial.

‘‘I don’t feel like we have to solve the problem immediately but we want to do the best we can to help with the problem and reduce the numbers.’’

Member Angela McFall said it was hard to turn people away who needed their help.

‘‘We have really big hearts and we would hate to think about what would happen to those animals if we didn’t take them.’’

Members often took on more animals than they could realistically look after because of this, she said.

Mrs Willis said the Gore Cat Rescue was registered as a charity this year.

‘‘We were very aware of the need and we made connections and it just organically grew from that.’’

The charity has five members and has re-homed six cats so far.

The aim was to provide assistance in de-sexing and rehoming stray or unwanted cats.

‘‘We really need the community to get behind us or else this all falls over.’’

For the charity to work, support would be needed.

The charity members were open to anyone willing to lend any kind of help.

‘‘If anybody is interested, we can provide you with a foster kit if you need it with everything you could possibly need.’’

Charity members agreed the creation of a shelter would be a step in the right direction.

There had been no shelter in Gore to house stray cats and kittens since 2021, when the SPCA shut down.

The nearest shelter was in Invercargill.

Mr Willis said the goal of a shelter was a distant dream.

‘‘When we first got together that was one of the things we were most keen on doing.

‘‘But until we are established and until we have some funding, we’ve got to start small.’’

Funding would be a long term barrier to a facility, he said.