There has been a surge in demand for the adoption of kittens in LB Hounslow, with at least one adoption centre not able to keep up with the demand.
“I have a huge huge list of potential adopters, and a lot of them just want kittens, which we haven’t got.” Carol Atkinson, Trustee and Treasurer of Hounslow Animal Welfare Society told The Chiswick Calendar.
“The ones we do have are very very young or they’re very very timid because they’ve been born outside and not had a lot of human contact, so they require a lot of work and socialising, so it will be a while before they’re ready”.
People have had a lot more time on their hands over the last couple of months and while this might seem to be the perfect time to adopt, Carol said that is not necessarily the case.
“I think a lot of people have been wanting to adopt more and I think a lot of it is because a lot people are stuck at home and they’re bored, but we’re being very careful because that is not the right reason to adopt anything. What’s going to happen when life goes back to normal? Are they suddenly going to decide that they can’t look after it properly?”.
Population explosion expected
It’s expected that, nationally, around 84,000 extra kittens could be born this year because fewer cats have been neutered during the lockdown, with vets only being able to respond to emergencies.
“We were unable to complete non-essential procedures, such as neutering, which means more fertile cats are on the street which causes a higher number of kittens to be born. Summer is primarily breeding time for cats anyway, so this is just going to lead to an even higher spike” veterinary nurse Anna Garrity told The Chiswick Calendar.
“With more people being at home, more kittens have obviously been bought or adopted which means that more cats are about that aren’t neutered. More cats means more kittens, which then often end up in shelters” she said.
Her grim prediction is born out by the RSPCA, who say since the lockdown began, they have taken more than 600 cats into care. Unwanted kittens have been found dumped in carrier bags and left on doorsteps of veterinary practices, with the RSPCA responding to 6,630 incidents since 23 March. They fear the situation will get worse.
Cat owning ‘a long commitment’
Hounslow Animal Welfare Society has a robust neutering system in place and runs a foster home-style adoption operation. Potential adopters can arrange a meeting with the fosterers in their gardens, where the animals live in big pens. Meeting people this way helps fosterers to evaluate the prospective pet owners suitability and helps to prevent impulsive adoptions.
Carol wants adopters to understand that a cat or kitten isn’t just something you should get to entertain you over the lockdown period.
“I think we’ve all been doing this for so long that we don’t find it difficult to weed people out just by having a chat with them. We’re not asking any specific questions we’re just letting them talk to us and usually does become quite obvious that the ones who are genuine adopters and the ones who are doing it just because they’re a bit bored.”
“These days they can easily live until 20, it’s a very long commitment.”
If you would like more information about adoptions or to make a donation to HAWS, please visit their website:
And if you’d like a cat and aren’t bothered about getting a kitten specifically, you might consider giving a home to one of these two beauties. Pumpkin, on the left, and Gucci, right, are both in urgent need of adoption.
Read more on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: RNLI rescues ungrateful cat