Wednesday, 19 December 2007

How to be cost effective...

We were recently approached by a case worker and asked to help with a situation which had grown out of control. A family had two adult female cats and a tom cat, all unneutered. A recipe for disaster!

We agreed to take the two mum cats and their combined litters, totalling nine kittens! The family loved the cats, and had handled them well, but had not been able to afford to feed so many mouths, and as a result the mother cats were starting to become hungry.

The two little mum-cats, who we have named Clementine and Sorrell, had resorted to hunting for rats to feed their babies. Judging by the fur loss on Clementine's nose they had also resorted to licking in empty tins - the fur on the top of the nose can be caught against the rough edge of the tin, and leave it bald or patchy.
The two little mum cats are taking it in turn to feed all the kittens, and it is impossible to tell which kittens belong to which mother, although some kittens are much bigger than others. They are probably aged 6 weeks and 8 weeks.

By that age they need a lot of food. The mother cats are still feeding and so all their energy is diverted towards the kittens, and the kittens themselves are starting to wean and are beginning to eat hungrily.
Neutering may be seen by some as an expensive option, but feeding 12 cats is probably more expensive in the long run, and don't forget that once the current litter is ready for homes, the mums would be coming into season ready for another batch. Added up, neutering might seem to be the cheaper option!

We will neuter the kittens at 10 weeks of age, and we will neuter the two mums when the last of the kittens are neutered. As for the lad, we have requested assistance from another charity with neutering, so that his owners can enjoy keeping him, and they will be able to afford to feed him.