The RSPCA ACT is in desperate need of volunteer foster carers for cats and kittens as the influx of felines increases during ‘kitten season.’
The situation was highlighted recently when 21 strays (15 kittens, six adult cats) were presented to the shelter on a single day.
CEO Michelle Robertson said while Monday is often the day when the most stray animals arrive, receiving twenty-one cats at one time makes things very challenging for the team.
“Our staff and volunteers are truly amazing and I’m so proud of them for always giving 100%, but I would dearly love to get some more helping hands onboard,” she said.
“Fostering a cat or litter of kittens is incredibly rewarding. Helping a tiny new-born grow into a healthy cat and setting them up with the chance to become someone’s much loved lifelong companion is one of the most rewarding things you can do,” she said.
A current nationwide shortage of cat vaccinations is also contributing to the urgent need for foster carers.
The RSPCA ACT has taken positive measures to mitigate the shortage, including adjusting its vaccination protocols and acquiring stock from suppliers outside of the regular sources at a significantly increased cost.
However due to the high numbers of cats and kittens presenting, the shelter is at an elevated risk of infectious disease. Having cats in foster care environment as they wait for their forever home reduces the chances of disease spreading.
Ms Robertson said with expected number of between 30 to 50 cats coming in per week, carers for neonatal kittens and pregnant cats are most urgent.
“Neo-natal foster carers are our real superheroes; they are the ones who take a litter of the tiniest new-borns that normally would have practically zero chance of living a normal life and helping them bloom into people’s pets,” she said.
“Ideally a neo-caring household can work as a team to raise these kittens, taking shifts to feed them, play with them and nurture them, it really is a terrific thing to do as a family or a couple,” said Ms Roberston.
Other types of cats urgently needing foster carers include juvenile kittens, these are usually four-week-old litters.
We also need carers for adult cats awaiting or recovering from surgery, pregnant or new queens with litters of kittens or adult cats needing behavioural training.
Ms Robertson has fostered animals herself and has experienced the support foster carers will receive.
“Volunteer foster carers will be given quality training, you will be given all medications, supplements, food, toys, blankets and anything you will possibly need to have a rewarding experience,” she said.
RSPCA ACT recognises circumstances can make it difficult for potential carers to receive induction training during working hours and have recently upgraded the process to make it available online.
To express interest in becoming a kitten or cat foster carer please follow the link: https://www.rspca-act.org.au/cat-foster or contact RSPCA ACT on (02) 6287 8100.