There are a number of organisations in the area who rescue stray or unwanted cats. These organisations include the RSPCA, Happy Cat Rescue and Cat Protection. These are charitable organisations and receive no public funding for the work they do. They are entirely dependent on donations to fund their operations.
Kirklees, like many areas of the country, has a huge problem with stray un-neutered cats which continue to breed. The resulting kittens then mature and when they reach breeding age, they, in turn are added to the breeding population and compound the problem.
Due to the high number of stray cats in the area, many of these re-homing centres are working at full capacity for most of the year. Obviously, the problem could be reduced if the population of cats having unwanted litters of kittens was reduced. The scarce resources of the rehoming centres are better used to neuter cats and reduce the breeding population. There are a range of sponsored neutering schemes where financial assistance is available to reduce the costs associated with neutering but still the problem continues.
As private Veterinary Practices, we are sometimes placed on the front line of this battle. Despite not having any mechanism to re-home these unwanted cats, we are often the first point of call. We are happy to guide people towards the channels who do take responsibility for unwanted cats but have no resources to take in and deal with stray cats ourselves.
Despite the number of organisations who deal with stray cats, we had a problem thrust upon us last week when we had a box containing 3 lovely young black and white cats left on the doorstep of our Maple Street Surgery. The cats were cold, wet and frightened but otherwise in good health. Fortunately, they were discovered before they escaped from the box and came to serious harm on the nearby roads.
Once warmed up and with a couple of good meals on board, the cats are all doing well and are very friendly. There are much better ways of managing a problem with unwanted cats than to abandon them in a box. These lovely kittens are currently looking for good homes; please contact the Maple St surgery should you be interested in viewing.
Robert turned up on the doorstep of a family in Lockwood about 12 months ago. Robert was an un-neutered male with big chunky jowls and it was very clear to everyone he met that he was living rough. His hair coat was dirty and matted and his ears and nose bore the scars of numerous territorial disputes. His lean appearance suggested that the bins in the area had been his unreliable source of food.
Despite his unkempt appearance Robert, like many un-neutered tom cats was a big softy and the family started feeding him. Robert’s confidence grew and, although he never really came to socialise with the family’s indoor cats, he became a regular sight in the garden and by the food dish on the patio.
After nearly a year, it became apparent that Robert had realized that he had landed lucky and was not going to move on so his new owners brought him to see me to be neutered.
Because of their lifestyle, un-neutered tom cats can be prone to contracting Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) from bites and scratches. Both these diseases can easily be overlooked as cats can contract the infections but remain apparently fit and healthy for months or even years. During this time they are contagious and can pass the infection on to other cats. Eventually, cats become ill because of the infection and need to be euthanased.
I suggested that we run a blood test to check for the presence of FeLV or FIV prior to neutering. The test can be done at the surgery and results obtained within 15 minutes.
Sadly Robert’s test results showed that he was positive for FIV and because he was an infection risk to other cats in the neighbourhood, it was decided that he should be euthanased to prevent spread to the wider cat population.
Feral cats should be blood tested and neutered to try to prevent the spread of these unpleasant diseases. There are a number of charities who may be able to assist with the neutering of feral cats. Contact Donaldson’s Vets for more details.