The RSPCA is appealing for foster carers for the influx of cats and kittens that are admitted into their care during summer months.
From May to September is the time of year when most kittens are born, and every year the RSPCA sees an influx of cats and newborn kittens coming into its care.
Often this would be because owners can no longer care for their cats, or they have been found abandoned at a young age and need round-the-clock care.
RSPCA centres and branches across England and Wales are now working hard to care for the large number of cats, from hand-rearing kittens to providing a safe place for mum and her litter – the RSPCA relies on fosterers who can provide a calm, home environment away from the cattery.
Alice Potter, RSPCA’s cat welfare expert, said: “The RSPCA sees on average 86 cats coming into our care every day, that’s more than three every hour. The UK is facing a cat overpopulation crisis with so many cats ending up in our care. This is why we are urging anyone with a big heart and a love of animals to consider fostering cats and kittens for the RSPCA.
“It’s an incredibly rewarding thing to do and eases the huge pressure on the charity’s centre and branch staff.”
Darryl Collard from Wigmore in Kent fosters for the RSPCA Leybourne Animal Centre near Maidstone. He has been fostering cats since March this year and so far, has cared for a mum and six male kittens, and another mum and four male kittens.
He said: “We’ve had two foster cat families so far. It’s lovely watching the kittens grow each day and develop their personalities. By having them at home with us we can make sure they get used to people and household sounds, so they’re ready to be rehomed when they’re old enough.
“It’s important for the mum to have a nice, calm environment to look after her babies. We’d recommend fostering to someone who wants to help animals but perhaps doesn’t have the time to volunteer at the shelter. You can have them in your own home and make them part of your everyday life.”
Darryl spotted that his local RSPCA needed fosterers from a post on Facebook and as a cat lover, with two cats himself and plenty of space, he knew he wanted to help out.
Daryll explained that caring for a mum and kittens is a little as easier for the first three weeks they often sleep and feed with their mum. During the next few weeks the kittens become livelier and more playful and start making a mess. “But that’s all part of the fun,” Darryl added.
Emily Caddick, Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN), has worked for the RSPCA for three years and has been fostering cats and kittens for two years.
She said: “I love fostering and I would recommend it to anyone who has the time and dedication to do it. Seeing the transformation in the animals from start to finish is really rewarding and knowing that you’ve helped prepare them for their lives in a loving home environment is amazing.”
To learn more about becoming a cat fosterer you can visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/foster.