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SPCA calls for pet shops to stop selling un-desexed cats and kittens

31/01/17

eight col SPCA JAN 120

The SPCA is calling for New Zealand pet shops to stop selling cats and kittens that are not desexed to help prevent litters of unwanted animals.

Summer is ‘kitten season’ - the time of year when cats breed - and as a result thousands of unwanted and stray kittens end up at the SPCA.

Pet shops selling un-desexed animals further contributes to these large numbers, stretching the SPCA’s limited resources even more. 

In Manawatu, the SPCA is dealing with the fall-out of their area being flooded with un-desexed cats and kittens purchased from pet shops.

Manawatu SPCA General Manager Danny Auger has heard reports of pet shops in the district selling hundreds of un-desexed and unvaccinated cats and kittens a year. This summer the Centre is full of kittens, and has had to enlist the help of a record number of foster families to care for them.

“The problem with selling or giving away un-desexed animals is that the new owners often don’t follow through with getting their new pet desexed. Or they may not realise just how young a cat can become pregnant and end up with an unplanned litter of kittens,” says SPCA New Zealand CEO Andrea Midgen.

An un-desexed kitten sold in a pet shop today could have a litter, possibly two, by the end of the season. When a cat can have four litters of up to eight kittens in just a few months, the problem can escalate very quickly.

“There is certainly not a shortage of cats and kittens looking for homes in New Zealand,” says Ms Midgen.

“We need to work on reducing the number of kittens being born each year and ensuring that every cat in the country is being properly cared for. The SPCA believes every animal sold in a pet shop should be desexed – there is absolutely no need for them to breed when there are already so many animals that need good homes.”

Every animal adopted from the SPCA is behaviour and health-checked, vaccinated, microchipped and desexed, a policy that Ms Midgen says should be adopted any organisation selling or giving away an animal.

The SPCA also spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year running free and low-cost desexing campaigns across the country.

“Desexing is the single best thing we can do for animal welfare in this country,” says Ms Midgen. “New Zealand has thousands of unwanted and homeless animals – it’s a big problem. We know that by preventing unwanted litters being born, we’re helping to prevent the cycle of animal cruelty.

“But all our efforts are pointless if pet shops continue to sell large numbers of un-desexed animals. They are flooding areas with unwanted pets that are ending up in our Centres. This has to stop.

“We’re asking all pet shops to work with us on this, rather than contributing to the problem.”